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National Theatre announces free virtual courses for young people to learn theatre-making skills

Published 3 November 2020

As the theatre industry continues to face huge challenges and the National Theatre closes again under new coronavirus restrictions, the NT is prioritising its work with young people across the UK to provide opportunities for them to take part in creative activities and find new ways to explore theatre-making.

The NT is collaborating with freelance artists, producers and technicians across the theatre industry to lead digital introductory courses for young people to learn about theatre-making and develop skills from experts in the field.

Applications are now open for young people across the UK to apply to take part in the How to be a Producer and Young Technicians’ programmes, running in early 2021. These online courses provide an opportunity for young people who may not otherwise have access to the industry to explore roles in the theatre alongside mentoring from industry professionals.

How to be a Producer for 16-21-year-olds is led by Tobi Kyeremateng, producer and founder of the Black Ticket Project alongside producers from the National Theatre, Southbank Centre, Young Vic and many more. The online course will explore the role of producer and what it takes to produce cultural events, including in digital form, through interactive tutorials and problem-solving activities including budgeting and project management. The course will take place across evenings in February 2021 and 50% of places will be available for young Black people in partnership with the Black Ticket Project.

The Young Technicians’ programme will be led by the NT’s expert technical teams to introduce the basics of lighting, sound and video through digitally delivered practical workshops, demonstrations and expert Q&As all delivered online. All participants will receive mini equipment kits to take part in hands-on challenges and learn practical skills. This course is open to 14-18-year olds and will run from January to March 2021.

These programmes are free to take part in and furthering the NT’s commitment to access, places will be prioritised for young people from Black, Asian and ethnically diverse backgrounds, from working class backgrounds and/or with disabilities. Added support will be provided for young people at risk of digital exclusion.

Ali Taie, 19, took part in the Young Technician’s Programme in 2018/2019 and said, “Young Technicians’ came up at the perfect time for me. Back then, I was still in college and the idea of doing theatre was very distant, but doing it helped me understand all of the various roles in theatre that would suit me, along with a solid understanding of the fundamentals of each backstage role in technical theatre and just how critical all members are. It is the direct reason behind the founding of my current theatre company (Opsis Theatre Co), as well as my choice to go to the university which I’m currently attending”.

Ameena Hamid, 20, took part in How to be a Producer in 2019 and said, “The course provided an invaluable window into life as a producer through the lived experience of those in the industry as well as useful tools and theory. It gave me the confidence in my skills that I needed to start producing professionally and I’ve been doing so since. Another brilliant bonus was building up a network of course mates and industry professionals that I’m still in contact with today and who all help and support each other.”

Alice King-Farlow, Director of Learning at the NT said, “The National Theatre remains determined to open up pathways into the industry for young people from backgrounds under-represented in our sector. Despite the huge challenges facing the theatre industry, and as the theatre closes again under the new lockdown, we can use digital platforms to connect young people across the country with experts in our industry, who can share their experiences and knowledge and support the development and exchange of skills – for theatre and for the creative industries more widely. We hope these programmes will open up the creative industries to talented individuals who might not have considered a career in the sector, and provide transferable skills for their futures in any career.”

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