The Optimists offers an introduction to the craft of producing in a professional context and building professional networks by de-mystifying the financial, administrative, and organisational aspects of producing.

This year's Optimist Summer 2024 course is suitable for emerging producers, artists, and creative practitioners, based in the West Midlands, who are hoping to develop their skills as professional producers, or as a producer of their own work, in the subsidised arts sector.

Drawing on China Plate’s extensive experience and real examples in theatre producing, the Optimists provides knowledge and insight on the practicalities of making, funding, touring, and promoting your work. The Optimists course is led by China Plate, with the support of guest industry experts and speakers.

The course is open to those working across different art forms (e.g., dance, live art, spoken word, etc) but has a particular focus on producing and touring live work in the theatre industry.

Participants should have at least 12 months of professional/industry experience in the arts sector – it is not aimed at those who have recently graduated or who are completely new to working in the arts sector. This course is not appropriate for those with more than 3 years of professional experience working as a producer.

Sessions: 10 in-person sessions taking place over 7 weeks
Dates: Between Saturday 15th June and Saturday 3rd August 2024
Location: Venues across the West Midlands
Spaces: For up to 20 participants

Costs:
For freelancers/individuals: £480 per person (inclusive of VAT)
For organisations:  £660 per person (inclusive of VAT)

Bursaries covering the full cost of the course will be available to those who have faced racism, discrimination and/or cultural barriers due to their ethnicity, disability, D/deafness, gender identity or socio-economic background – please refer to the application guidelines for more information.

We are hosting two online information sessions on Wednesday 8th May and Wednesday 15th May - these will provide an opportunity to find out more about the course and ask any additional questions that you may have. If this is something you feel you would find useful, please sign up to attend: https://bit.ly/OP24Info

DEADLINE EXTENDED: New deadline for applications will be 12pm (midday) on Wednesday 29th May.

Please visit our website for more information about the course, including application guidelines and details on how to apply. Accessible formats are available, including BSL & captioned and audio introductions about the course, alongside large print formats.

If you have any questions, please contact our Training & Development Producer Kristina through the email address below.

Where do you start when you are looking for a career in the theatre industry? It’s challenging getting a job in any industry and the competitive nature of the theatre industry is often seen as a barrier. If you follow our top 10 tips, you will definitely be in a better position to not only get a job in the theatre industry but also be a success in your chosen field. 

1. Goal-oriented approach

Having goals is something that will help you in the long run as it will give you something to work towards. But don’t forget, the journey to any career is never a straight, easy path - especially in theatre. There will be things that take you in all different directions and this is normal. As long as you don’t lose sight of what you want to gain and what you want your end goal to be, you will find the right career in theatre for you.

 

2. Research

Not everyone wants to study and that’s fine because that’s not the only way to begin your theatre career or be successful within the theatre industry. There are so many ways to do this so you must do your research to find out what these ways are. We’ve made it easy for you because we’ve put all this information in one place. It’s good to have a rough idea of what job role you would like to pursue within the theatre industry. If you’re not sure what job in theatre you are best suited to, don’t worry. Our handy blogs describing different jobs within theatre will help give you an insight to the many different roles available and what you need to do to get there. 

Take a look at our job descriptions here.

 

3. Experience

It will benefit you so much to have as much experience within your chosen area of theatre as possible, especially if you don’t want to study. If you don’t have a formal qualification (for example, a degree), having experience is what is going to make you stand out to potential employers when applying for jobs. Experience comes in many different forms but the three main forms are work experience, apprenticeships and internships. You can find information about all three of these experience opportunities here.

 

4. See as much theatre as you can

This is always a good suggestion because let’s face it, who doesn’t want to go to the theatre? Not only that but seeing a variety of different theatre shows will help you if you’re interested in a particular area of theatre e.g. if you’re interested in lighting you can take notes of lighting designs which peak your interest or are particularly inventive. Some theatre tickets can be a little expensive but don’t worry we’ve got that covered too. You can find a number of different ticket schemes where you can get discounted theatre tickets right here.

 

5. Social Media

This is the 21st century and almost everything is on social media. Try and be as active as you can without becoming anti-social. It’s a great tool to keep up-to-date with industry news, shows and upcoming theatremakers. It may sound obvious but never post any offensive or discriminating posts on any of your social media channels. Some employers like to view their employees social media pages and you don’t want something inappropriate to pop up that you wrote 10 years ago! 

 

6. Network

This can be daunting but once you get into the flow of it, it can be really fun and so invaluable to you in the future. You should network every chance you get and this doesn’t always have to be at a networking event; it may be a fellow Performer you met at an audition or your best friends cousin who is the Head of Lighting behind Wicked the musical. There are also loads of networking events available for young theatremakers which you can find here.

 

7. Positive attitude

It may be difficult at times to remain positive when starting out in a new career in theatre but it is really important to approach everything with positivity, especially when you’re going for interviews/auditions. If you’re an Actor auditioning can be constant throughout your career and you must always go into your auditions thinking that anything is possible. This is the same with any interviews for offstage roles too. If you go in with a negative attitude it will only go downhill from there.

 

8. Accepting responsibility

When you’re new in the industry (even when you are more established) you’re likely to make mistakes. Of course you are, you’re only human and this is totally natural. Accept you have made a mistake but always make sure you have learnt from the experience and then move on to the next thing. There is no need to lose sleep over a little mistake because this may affect your ability to complete other tasks and could lead you to make more mistakes. Accept it, learn from it and move on to the next thing.  

 

9. Aim small (but not for long) 

When you’re at the very beginning of your career in theatre, it’s wise to be realistic about what you want to achieve as well as what you are able to achieve. If you begin with an unrealistic goal it is unlikely you will get there at the beginning of your career and this can knock your confidence. Remember, every little step counts and these things take time.   

                                                         

10. Fringe Theatre

Fringe Theatres and Festivals are a popular way to get a new piece of theatre noticed and produced. It can also be a great way to kick start your theatre career.  Fringe venues are all over the country and features every type of theatre you can imagine. Most shows are brand new that no one has ever seen before. One of the more well-known fringe festivals is Edinburgh Fringe. The TV show Fleabag started as a one woman show at the Festival. It was later adapted into an internationally famous award-winning TV show that we all know. Fringe theatre is a great opportunity to learn, get tips and ideas on theatre, performance, comedy and more, the sky's the limit. Remember to always make sure you are paid fairly when working on the fringe. 

 

References:

https://www.ypia.co.uk/posts/10-tips-for-getting-into-theatre

https://targetcareers.co.uk/career-sectors/arts-and-creative/1015387-careers-in-theatre

https://www.edfringe.com/

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On this page you will find resources for teachers, careers advisors and youth theatre practitioners who want to educate and advise their students about a career within the theatre industry.

Make lesson planning and learning from home easy with these free digital theatre resources that drama teachers and parents can use to teach in the classroom, or adapt for teaching online, remotely and from home.

These resources will be updated frequently with helpful tips, information and workshop plans which will help your students and inform them about the different career paths there are within the theatre industry, both on and off stage.

Resources

Click the link to download the resource

What does a career in theatre look like?

What kind of things does a Set Designer do?

What kind of things does a Costume Designer do?

 

 

Are your students interested in a career in the Theatre? Then invite a Theatre Ambassador into school!

Inspiring the Future of Theatre 

Inspiring the Future is a free platform which connects schools and colleges with in-person and virtual volunteers across a huge range of job levels and sectors through a self-service portal. Inspiring the Future are working together with Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and UK Theatre recruit volunteer Ambassadors working in the Theatre industry to go into schools and showcase the range of careers available in theatre to young people and encouraging and strengthening connections between schools and theatres.

Register here to join the thousands of teachers in the network and get access to:

  1. A diverse range of volunteers from different jobs, sectors and career routes that can be invited via the self-service portal to visit your school or college and speak with your students.
  2. Free resources designed to help you plan different activities and meet Gatsby Benchmarks, including pre-recorded resourceswith accompanying activities to land the learning.
  3. Campaigns and projects focused on particular sectors or areas of need that you can take part in.
  4. Special employer-led projects that take place throughout the year – including employer-hosted events and in-school workshops.
  5. Bespoke support from the Inspiring the Future team to help you to use the system and start planning your encounters. Get in touch to plan your encounter on the phone with us.

 

Photo: LAMDA

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