Isabel gained her Arts Award through stage managing a variety of productions. With support from her adviser, Alison Dures, she had the opportunity to work with a range of artists and practitioners across Cornwall.
Theatre and drama
Isabel gained an insight into stage management through her work experience with professional stage manager, Jack Morrison. This involved learning how to programme and operate a fatfrog lighting desk, as well as rigging and focusing lanterns. Isabel put her new skills into practice by taking a stage manager role at local events. She also received advice on higher education courses, which encouraged her to study Stage Management at university.
Isabel carried out work experience with arts organisations, The Works and Creative Partnerships South West. Alongside this, she undertook two placements at the BBC, one of which involved working in the props and art department on shows such as ‘Torchwood’, ‘Sarah Jane Adventures’ and ‘Sherlock’. The second placement involved working with the crew of the ‘Doctor Who Christmas Special’ and on the BBC Wales production of ‘Baker Boys’.
Isabel has continued to focus on career pathways into theatre and drama by securing work placements at the Barbican Centre and the Drum Theatre, both in Plymouth.
Research and review
Isabel researched the contrasting acting styles of two influential theatre practitioners and looked at how lighting and staging affected their performance.
She also attended a number of performances, taking place both at Bodmin College and around Cornwall. Attending live events fed Isabel’s passion for theatre and inspired her to try new approaches and techniques:
‘Watching a live performance and seeing how the audience reacts is a great feeling’.
Forming a view
Isabel explored the issue of sustainable theatre. She researched the impact that theatre lighting has on the environment and the ways energy use could be reduced through alternative means. Isabel presented her argument using a PowerPoint presentation.
For her leadership project, Isobel took on the role of deputy stage manager for the first Young People’s Achievement Awards ceremony, which took place at the Hall for Cornwall in Truro. Isabel worked as part of a team with six other Gold Arts Award participants who managed other elements of the event.
As part of her role, Isabel coordinated the technical requirements and equipment needs of the participating schools and groups, and contributed to the production schedule and performance running order. Isabel had never before worked on an event of this size and she learned a great deal about the importance of clear communication, organisation and team work. Isabel explained, ‘communication is very important to ensure that everything runs smoothly during the event, especially considering that each performer only gets a limited amount of time to practice in the space’.
Isabel summarises the impact of Arts Award on her subsequent study choices and career path:
‘Through the collaboration with Creative Partnerships and The Works, I was able to gain professional contacts and further experience that helped to influence my decision to study Stage Management at university.'
‘Since completing my Arts Award and graduating from university, I have gained professional work experience with the BBC and been offered the chance to be assistant site manager for the Summer Ball Events Season at The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.’
Isabel would now like to further her experience in other areas such as live TV or studio-based shows:
‘The great thing about stage management is that it uses a lot of transferable skills’.
‘The entire award was an amazing experience. The chance to work with such a variety of artists and companies was invaluable.’
Isabel, Gold Arts Award.