“Learn as much as you possibly can, because we need you more than you know.” That was the Royal Court Theatre Artistic Director Vicky Featherstone’s message to the next generation of theatre designers, directors, writers and producers who had gathered at TheatreCraft to hear the acclaimed theatremaker open the event.
Giving an inspiring and at times emotional speech – which you can watch in full above – Featherstone called upon the delegates at the beyond the stage careers fair, all aged 16 to 25-years-old, to “bite at [the industry’s] heels,” explaining, “British theatre is absolutely leading in the world at the moment… but it’s always about the future. I need you to tell me what the next thing is in theatre. I need you to be leading the way, pushing us from behind.”
If anyone in the room was still in doubt as to whether they want to forge a career in the industry, it’s likely they were persuaded by the electric speech which concluded with Featherstone taking a photo of her avid audience to keep her inspired. While she admitted her career, which has seen her work her way from an usher up to running one of London’s most popular and iconic venues, was sometimes “bloody hard work”, she beamed as she told the audience that a career in theatre meant “it will never, ever, ever feel like you’re going to work, so what’s not to love about that?”
Before the emerging theatrical talent left to start a day packed with workshops, one-to-one advice sessions and networking opportunities, Caro Newling, producer and President of one of TheatreCraft’s organiser’s the Society of London Theatre, echoed Featherstone’s sentiments to the group, saying: “There is the most fantastic range of exhibitors at TheatreCraft today, who are all very keen to talk to you about what they do and share their experiences. Theatre is one the most collegiate industries you could ever join. My advice is to not forget who you met today. Whichever part of this profession you join – you will meet these people again.”
Watch Vicky Featherstone’s speech above; it may just make you want to join TheatreCraft’s hundreds of participants and forge your very own career in the “life-changing” art form.