Here you will find a range of initiatives from our members who have each committed to rebalance our off-stage workforce.
The RSC runs technical apprenticeship schemes in Automation, Sound, Scenery Construction, and Prop Making. We try and recruit individuals that haven’t taken the university route to enable more candidates from under-represented backgrounds to apply. We ask for them to have an interest in one of our technical areas rather than any formal qualification.
Recruitment is done via an assessment centre so we can see a range of skills that the candidates have, rather than just an ability to answer questions.
The apprenticeship schemes range from 18 months to 4 years and during the time that the apprentices are with us they are given the widest possible experience of theatre. This means that they are able to shadow other RSC technical departments and have a placement to another creative organisation. They are also able to take advantage of internal and external training provided by the RSC.
Equity shall support positive collaboration between Stage Sight and the union’s Stage Management and Directors and Designers Committees.
Equity seeks, for example in relation to pay, to help consolidate any commitment into a binding collective agreement, thus ensuring long-term positive impact of commitments in improving terms and conditions of employment of those employed off-stage across the live performance sector.
Equity commits to work in collaboration with Stage Sight, and partner organisations, to support the assessment of commitments given, and ensure that these can be translated into effective working practice in live performance spaces. We will achieve this by identifying organisations which may be willing to become StageSight supporters and work collaboratively with them to (a) agree on commitments and (b) a timescale to implement these.
tiata fahodzi documents both our internal and external activity across all our digital platforms to demystify the production process and developing understanding about what it means to be – and work for – a theatre company. Our team are encouraged to write blogs about their jobs, what a day in their role looks like and the things they’ve learnt.
tiata fahodzi has a dedicated budget line in core budgets to provide a learning and training experience on every production in produces. This sits outside of our production budgets to ensure its a priority irrespective of the producing partners or financial journey of the production. The budget line allows us to respond strategically and make an intervention to the specific absence of that moment.
tiata fahodzi initiated and produced a photo library of stock photos featuring people of colour in technical roles because if you can’t see it, you can’t be it. The image library – created with The Stage and in association with Watford Palace Theatre – has 207 photos free for use.
We actively work with specialist recruitment organisations such as Creative Access to encourage and nurture people of colour into the sector. We are keen to recruit the skills and personnel we need from outside of theatre sector in order to make sure that our work reaches those its made for, so will often engage with consultants and networks outside of the traditional arts recruitment routes. Our job packs aim to be open and inclusive and we aim to remove all theatre jargon using clear and straight forward language. For example, when recruiting for our digital content producer – we focussed on storytelling rather than the word theatre.
A year-long course run by our professional technicians, that looks at all aspects of the technical side of theatre including lighting, sound and design. For 11 – 18 year olds.
Theatre Unwrapped invites the public in to help with the production process as we prepare for produced shows e.g. rigging lights, coming to the get-in etc. https://www.derbytheatre.co.uk/whatson/get-involved
We are moving away from solely using interview questions to test a candidate’s ability to do the role. We have started to use assessment centres in some areas so candidates can also demonstrate their practical and team working skills.
Alongside our Youth Theatre show we create a young company who shadow in-house professionals to deliver aspects of the production such as marketing (including contribution to social media channels), theatre design, stage management, operating lighting and sound.
We support and encourage staff and freelancers in offstage positions to talk about their roles in careers advice session with potential new entrants. This includes our Education Department run ‘Meet the Experts’.
We offer careers days through our Borderlines & Education Department where we invite schools and groups from marginalised communities to find out more about working in the theatre industry. The day includes a theatre tour and a presentation about working in the theatre. Also, staff from a range of departments meet with the group for an informal conversation about their role and what their department does as well as offer advice about potential career routes into their area.
Our Education team regularly attend careers events hosted at local schools across the region.
Our next open day is planned for 14th September 2019.
Self-guided tours of the venue will take in all areas of the theatre, including set and costume workshops, rehearsal spaces, lighting/sound box, foyers, rehearsal rooms, costume and props store, auditorium and backstage areas. In each area, visitors will have opportunities to talk to staff working in those department. This year’s open day includes open rehearsals to our Christmas production, participatory events and workshops with as well as demonstrations from production-making departments. There are opportunities to find out more and sign up to our Front of House Volunteer programme.
We offer open backstage tours to the public and local education settings. These cover all areas of the theatre including our props, costume and set workshops and we hope to include access to technical rehearsals when possible.
We are working with the RSC on a pilot of their Backstage pass programme to offer work experience to primary aged school children. Over the week, students are placed across a range of departments including Marketing, Stage Management, Technical and Front of House to support a performance piece by RSC actors and director as well as shadowing members of the in house team.
Scheduled to take place in March 2020.
Through REP Foundry we are proud to identify, nurture and develop new stories, new voices and new artists from the West Midlands. Now in its sixth year, our award-winning development programme offers year round support to writers, theatre makers and directors. They receive mentorship, have access to the staff and resources of The REP and have budgets to make, share and test work.
We are fundraising to begin our first technical youth theatre in early 2020, providing monthly sessions exploring backstage disciplines including stage management, lighting, sound and set design so that participants can then assist with the delivery of Young REP productions, gaining practical experience working with professional teams to then choose a specialism. Our hope is that some will then access apprenticeships and make a career in technical theatre.
Partnerships with Regional Theatre Young Directors Scheme (RTYDS) to create Introduction to Directing courses for d/Deaf & Disabled Directors.
We are a Ramps on the Moon partner and run artist development programmes for d/Deaf and Disabled creatives, most recently offering four Directors paid associateships at The REP. More info here: https://www.birmingham-rep.co.uk/news/meet-our-ramps-on-the-moon-directors.html
We have recruited two apprentices in backstage positions (one in Stage Management and the other in the Stage Department) with the hope of recruiting a third apprentice in the Wardrobe department as soon as the apprenticeship becomes live. The apprenticeships will last 18 months starting in September 2019. When recruiting for apprentices we see everyone who applies who lives locally and try to advertise on other recruitment sites such as Indeed which are not just focused on arts recruitment.
Before starting recruitment for our apprenticeships, we host a drop in at our open days so that anyone visiting the building can get more information on back stage roles and how to get into the industry. Additionally we attend the All About Theatre stall at the Big Bang Exhibition held at the NEC. The Big Bang Fair is an annual event where many employers exhibit the different ways in which you can have a career in Science and Technology to schools. We send an array of our technical staff to help on the stall and to talk the different technical careers available in the industry.
We have ongoing relationships with The Hive and Queen Alexandra colleges to support neuro-diverse and physically disabled pupils into work through supported internships.
We support diversity in our workforce. We target employment opportunities to those underrepresented in our workforce. We use community engagement to create employment pathways. Our recruitment processes are based on competence and aptitude. We are targeting recruitment through Birmingham Institute for the Deaf, Focus on Blindness and other disability led organisations. We welcome and celebrate neurodiversity in our workforce.
For our next production and onward we intend to have open recruitment for at least one creative post. We will look to engage emerging talent and support them with a mentor.
Another initiative which we have decided to drive forward at Autograph is around mental health. As a hidden disability, we strongly feel that creating a workplace that is supportive of mental health issues helps us to achieve greater inclusivity.
We have enrolled several of our staff in Mental Health First Aid training due to take place in August 2019 in order to equip more of our staff with the right techniques to recognise and support colleagues who are struggling with mental health. This initiative around mental health is there to reassure not only our staff, but anyone interested in our workplace and industry that mental health should not be seen as a barrier.
We are an ACE NPO specifically geared towards supporting East Asian creatives and professionals. We run up to six workshop/training events a year in partnership with organisations like Young Vic and Southbank etc to raise profile and practice. This year (2019) one will specifically focus on off-stage roles.
We will advertise all off-stage roles on our website and social media and across recruitment sites, as well as the East Asian forum for creatives on Facebook.
- We make sure that any job opportunities are shared via a wide selection of networks who have a broader and more diverse reach than us.
- We have removed a required level of Education, Qualifications and Training from the Person Specification section of Job Descriptions.
- We outline on Job Descriptions that we are happy to discuss solutions that allow people to balance their caring responsibilities with their working lives.
- We remove an applicant’s personal details when shortlisting candidates.
- Assistance with travel costs for interviews is available if required.
- For interviews, we make sure candidates know who they will be meeting and what is expected of them.
ETT Forge is a support network for producers and companies based in the UK with a commitment to touring. Through in kind support, skills workshops, and online resources, ETT Forge is a toolkit that aims to provide the support and building blocks needed to help nurture touring companies and producers and encourage touring in the UK.
ETT have teamed up with MGC Futures to offer a bursary for a trainee Assistant Production Manager. The bursary offers a unique training and mentoring opportunity to gain first-hand experience as Assistant Production Manager on ETT’s upcoming touring production, Reasons to Stay Alive. https://www.mgcfutures.com/
We have created some videos to raise awareness of and improve the visibility of off stage roles the public, and we are engaging with local schools. We have also taken on a Live events apprentice.
We have removed “Essential” and “Desirable” from person specs and replaced them with “Skills and Experience that we regard as highly desirable” and “Skills and Experience that we regard as desirable”.
We recruited apprentices using a workshop format avoiding formal interviews to make them less intimidating.
We highlight welcoming applications from the wider community but we also stress that we welcome applications with people with “caring responsibilities’. Another change that we are going to make for the next job advert is to include a statement about being “religion friendly” to increase the reach of the advert.
National Theatre Young Makers is hands-on, week long course for 14-18 year olds exploring prop and costume making in the summer holidays. This free programme launched this year and aims to open up the worlds of prop making and costume to young people from backgrounds currently underrepresented in the industry including young people of colour and young people from lower socio-economic backgrounds.
Young Makers will run from 12 – 16 August 2019, with recruitment opening in May. For more information see www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/young-people.
National Theatre Young Technicians is a completely free training programme for young people aged 14-18 exploring lighting, sound, video and stage. The programme launched in September 2017 and aims to increase diversity within the technical theatre industries by supporting more young people of colour and young women to explore, and access training in these areas.
Young Technicians runs annually from October – March, with recruitment opening in May. For more information see www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/young-people
We can offer training in personal branding, copywriting and social media for small business. We also have a passionate interest in why visible representation is crucial if we are to encourage diverse workforces in any sector and the kind of strategies people and businesses can adopt to ensure people really feel like they belong somewhere rather than feeling like they have to change themselves to fit in.
We work in PR and content production in the backstage and production business and often document the roles available across all sectors of the business. We are happy to look out for people and businesses that would make good case studies for Stage Sight.
We are committed to employing people based on their skills and knowledge alone. Our intern policy is that we clearly outline the role, the learning opportunities and the time frame. We have an up to date staff handbook and clearly described company policies. All staff members have a job description and a contract. We have a continuous professional development programme. We always pay our interns the national living wage. We are happy to have our recruitment and employment terms scrutinised and documented. We value our staff and we trust them, we know our business is our staff.
- University placements offered where possible, where it forms an accredited part of a University course. Eight placements offered in 2018, ranging from Assistant Director to Lighting Design to Stage Management to Community Assistant.
- Several staff members, particularly junior and casual staff, are engaged in external mentoring – some of those relationships introduced by UK Theatre’s mentoring scheme, and some suggestions from the staff team here.
- Attendance at free / low-cost conferences and events actively encouraged by line managers, eg. Pushing the Boundaries: The Living Legacy of Theatre for Young Audiences, Spektrix / Stagetext Open Day: Developing Your Audience Through Access, Tonic Connects.
- Attendance at peer-to-peer networking sessions encouraged, e.g. London Theatre Consortium working groups, the HR Working Group, STAMP network.
- Shadowing internally and externally is actively encouraged. In the last year, marketing have shadowed Learning, FOH have shadowed the General Manager, Finance have shadowed the BAC Finance Department, Stage Door have shadowed the National Theatre’s Stage Door.
- Ad hoc meetings and interviews set up when people reach out to us e.g. Company Stage Manager recently met two students from Southwark College for an interview about her work here, and someone looking for a career change into Stage Management from hospitality.
- Ad hoc shadowing days set up where possible e.g. in the rehearsal room.
- Several staff members are signed up to Inspiring the Future of Theatre, and participate regularly in schools events and talks
- Regular theatre tours, workshops and post-show Q&As for primary and secondary school groups.
- Two staff members take part in annual BRIT School careers day.
- At least 10 week long work experience placements offered to Year 10 students. Priority is given to students living or working in the borough of Southwark.
- Personal details and referee information removed before applications are handed to the shortlisting panel, to mitigate against unconscious bias.
- Support from staff members linked into social networks that reflect different aspects of diversity in publicising recruitment.
- Option of interview via Skype to save on potential travel costs / time off work.
- Care and attention to wording of job descriptions to encourage applicants from other sectors to apply.
- Bulk order of recruitment postings from Working Mums.
- Recruitment postings with Escape the City, Good People, A New Direction and Disability Arts Online to improve the visibility of the role.
- Careful thought given to the make-up of interview panels, and what signals that may send to candidates meeting us for the first time.
- Reasonable adjustments are asked for in advance, and made. Examples include: sight of the interview questions ahead of time, and a reduction in the number of people on a panel.
We recognise that one of the barriers to having an inclusive and representative workforce is a lack of opportunity and exposure to careers in our industry.
We have begun collaborating with the charity Speakers for Schools who are an organisation working to address educational inequality and improve the career prospects for young people. As part of their S4S:NextGen programme we have begun hosting work experience for secondary school students with our sound designers and engineers on projects we are working on around the country. Our first placement is scheduled for July 2019 and we intend to continue offering placements where possible for all major theatre productions which Autograph is involved in. Also as part of Speakers for Schools, our in-house sound designers have begun giving career talks to state school students around the country with the aim of demystifying the off-stage industry as well as hopefully sparking an interest in careers in sound design and the wider world of theatre.
We are continuing to explore opportunities for partnerships with organisations and schools addressing educational inequality and we hope to provide more young people with opportunities to enter our industry.
We are evolving our recruitment practices to ensure we continue hiring exceptional staff at Autograph. By modifying our current recruitment policy and procedures, revising our job advert template and broadening our areas of advertisement we aim to be more inclusive and open, maximising our potential to recruit talent from a more diverse pool of applicants.
This focuses on entry routes into the sector, creating real world working environment placements to offer insights of the different roles within an operating theatre venue. This includes apprenticeships, short term placements and opportunities which support study.
This is a two week programme that aims to connect diverse talent to creative and cultural organisations in London. It looks to raise awareness amongst young Londoners, of the cultural offering on their doorstep, connecting them to job and training opportunities in the sector. It also supports organisations access diverse talent for entry-level roles and opportunities.
On an annual basis we provide bursaries to young people from backgrounds underrepresented in our current company to cover interview and course fees, accommodation, travel and subsistence.
We are currently working on a new commission Imaam Imraan which will be playing at Bradford Literary Festival this coming July. Accompanying the show is an outreach programme where we will be visiting schools in Bradford, which have a large Asian population, with workshops in textiles and costume making surrounding the show. As a result of programming this show in our 2019 Summer Season, we will also be providing Assistant Stage Manager and Deputy Stage Manager positions for local young people and shadowing positions for school pupils from these partner schools. These positions are specifically created for young people of Asian backgrounds.
We are hiring a newly-funded Digital Apprentice to join us in our 2019 programme. The Digital Apprentice will learn about digital marketing, assist the Marketing Department in the communications of the National Youth Theatre and assist in delivering exciting work to current and new audiences across the UK and Internationally.
In 2019 we will appoint our first apprenticeship roles, with funding supported by John Lyons Charity. Intended to address the diverse of the core staff team through the introduction of a new entry level programme. Three apprenticeship roles will be offered in partnership with City & Islington College.
In 2018 we launched a new Inclusivity Programme designed to make National Youth Theatre more accessible to disabled and neuro diverse young people, in partnership with Diverse City and Highshore School in Southwark. The project follows previous inclusion work at NYT, including the 2012 Paralympic Team Welcome Ceremonies. We’ve also commissioned a series of productions exploring themes with disability at their core, directly creating lead roles for cast members with disability. These shows by Nessah Muthy and Athena Stevens will be developed in 2019 ahead of R&D productions in 2020.
We’ll be working with young people with disabilities on backstage and offstage roles and shadowing opportunities on our NYT REP Season at Southwark Playhouse. This follows a successful pilot last year in conjunction with our performances of The Fall and DNA at Southwark Playhouse, where we facilitated work placements for young people with disability in partnership with Southwark SEN school Highshore.
Our work with Highshore School, a SEN School in Southwark, was a four stage programme working with every pupil in the school; partnering on inclusive productions at the National Theatre, delivering work experience at Southwark Playhouse and after school club drama training. The programme is returning in 2019.
To find out more about our work with Highshore and wider Inclusion programme please visit : https://www.nyt.org.uk/inclusion
In January 2018 we began a partnership with our friends at Diverse City to develop our disability access and inclusion programme. Diverse City worked with us to deliver free Inclusion Training to our pool of NYT Associate Artists.
Equality and inclusion are at the core of our charitable aims and we are committed to removing barriers that might prevent young people from accessing our opportunities. We want our company of UK-wide young talent to represent and celebrate the diversity of Britain’s youth in all its forms. Alongside our nationwide auditions and interviews we run targeted programmes to create access routes into the National Youth Theatre for young people with characteristics that are currently underrepresented. As part of this commitment we are also a Cultural Inclusion Manifesto supporter. You can find out more about the Cultural Inclusion Manifesto here: https://culturalinclusion.uk
BECTU has launched the Theatre Diversity Action Plan which over 100 theatres have signed up to. The plan is a step-by-step guide for employers to help them address under-representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic workers in their workforce. Alongside the plan we are inviting the employers to join in a working group whose sole remit is to divide up the work involved in finding alternative sources of
Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic talent.
Our Frontline programme gives 16-25 year olds the opportunity to discover more about careers in theatre and develop key transferable skills through paid placements with our Front Of House team. See https://www.oldvictheatre.com/join-in/for-young-people/front-line for more details
Our Frontline Facilitators Programme is for young people aged 18+, offering advanced hands-on experience in creative facilitation and the chance to develop key transferable skills. See https://www.oldvictheatre.com/join-in/for-young-people/front-line-facilitators for more details.
Contact: Hannah Fosker (Education and Community Director)
We encourage people from underrepresented groups to apply for our roles and we offer guaranteed interviews for disabled candidates who meet the minimum essential criteria. We have removed the need for filling in an application form when applying to roles. We proactively advertise our roles on various platforms to attract a diverse pool of talent. We have a recruitment policy which states our commitment to equal opportunities and fair recruitment processes.
Contact: Amir Sheikh (HR Manager)
Open Door’s core aim is to improve access to drama school training for people from low income backgrounds for on and off stage roles. In the process of preparing participants for their drama school interviews and auditions we offer a range of training experiences. Open Door backstage participants receive a programme designed around their specialism including one to one tutoring sessions, studio visits and work experience days at some of London’s leading theatres.
Open Door is a project designed to tackle the escalating problem of under-representation of people from low income backgrounds within the industry by increasing access to drama schools. We level the playing field for our participants as they make their drama school applications by removing existing barriers including financial. Open Door participants are age 18-25 with exceptional talent within their field and with a household income of less than £30,000. We believe that fairer access to drama school training will ultimately lead to higher representation of people from low income access working within the industry.
In 2018 Open Door expanded it’s work to include working with young people aspiring to train at drama school in off stage roles. Our backstage programme includes one to one tutoring, studio visits with leading professionals and work experience days at some of London’s and East Midlands leading theatres. As with all Open Door programmes, financial barriers to applying are removed allowing our participants to apply to a larger range of schools than they might otherwise have been able to and without the associated stress of financial strain.
We have developed a new model for work experience which aims to provide a diverse and engaging programme for young people and one that is sustainable for arts and creative industries organisations. Working within the current school 5 day format, we have created a shared Creative Industries placement, where organisations offer a taster day for a group of 8 young people, for 4 days and on the Friday each will offer 2 students a mentoring day. This experience will be recognised through issuing an open digital badge to the young person which provides rich information on the skills developed through the placement.
We are trying new ways to recruit staff with our new recruitment material – leaflet and banner, attendance at careers fairs within the local community such as the BME volunteer fair / the AMEX city careers fair / Disability Open Day etc., reviewing where we advertise to ensure that our vacancies are promoted across the city and reviewing our recruitment documentation and policy (including our application form, monitoring form, short-listing form and interview evaluation form).
We interview all BAME and disabled applicants who fit the job description. Most recently we have posted our jobs on Creative Access and the Talawa job boards. We also hosted an open afternoon so that potential employees could come and meet the team so they felt more comfortable before applying, and interview questions are sent in advance to applicants for entry level roles so they feel more at ease.
We provide DET and creative access workshops/training. These are flexible training courses that we can adapt and use to discuss disabled people in all roles within the theatre.
All Birds of Paradise productions & projects include a mix of disabled and non-disabled practitioners. We are actively looking to include more disabled people in off stage roles when hiring new team members.
We run work placements within our technical and stage management teams, giving students the opportunity to earn credit for their degree or qualification and gain practical, on the ground experience to complement their learning and help them to get work-ready.
Our Young Artists Programme for participants aged 16-25 includes a Young Critics group and a Young Producers group and we have plans to expand this to include a Young Directors group. We ensure that at least 70% of our groups are made up of young people from our local boroughs, and that 50% of the groups are BAME.
In March 2019, we launched recruitment for our first Resident Designers program. We are hoping to create opportunities for emerging designers who may otherwise struggle to make their first steps into the industry whether due to financial resource, ethnicity, gender or disability. We have based the scheme on our successful Resident Directors scheme which has been running for the past few years and we hope that the 2 programs will complement each other.
The program will bring together emerging theatre set/costume and sound designers to become part of a network of designers attached to the Almeida Theatre for 12 months to develop their skills and their craft for a year with the support of our Artistic and Production teams. We will expand the programme to include lighting designers in 2020.
For each of our main-stage productions as well as some additional projects, the set, and sound designers will be asked to select an assistant from the network of designers. This assistant will then work with them and their team at the Almeida for the length during the planning period, of the rehearsals and show opening.
The pool of designers will have a budget to support and enable them to see plays; attend conferences and/or training and to develop ideas for their own project. Other opportunities include working with our Production team, attending workshops and readings, the possibility of designing for our Young Company productions and mentoring from an established designer.
Our Schools Programme offers young people in both Primary and Secondary education the opportunity to visit the theatre and meet members of our technical team, enabling them to gain an insight into the production process and the multitude of off-stage careers available within the industry. We also run a Careers Programme for our Partner Schools which consists of workshops that focus on off stage roles e.g. producing, directing, set design, sound and lighting design and movement direction.
We recommend group interviews for all entry-level roles, including internships, at the Almeida. This allows us to meet a larger and more diverse field of candidates. For the candidates, it gives them a chance to practice interview technique, get to know the Almeida and they get constructive feedback even if not invited to second round interviews.
When arranging group interviews, we speak to applicants on the phone as much as possible. This is in an attempt to:
- Make us more approachable
- Give clear information on group interviews to candidates on what they can expect
- Enabling applicants to feel more comfortable to state access needs if required; we give examples of access needs.
We encourage the interview panel to look out for introverts and give them the opportunity to speak and put a lot of effort during the group interviews to make applicants to feel comfortable.
Feedback we’ve received:
“The interview process was very positive and reassuring so thanks for making it such a comfortable environment for us all. I definitely felt like I was able to represent myself and what I could bring to the role as truthfully as possible.”
“Thank you very much for the opportunity and for inviting me to the group interview. It was my first professional interview and certainly my first group interview, so thank you for giving me the experience. It was absolutely lovely meeting the entire team, hearing about your work and learning more about the Almeida. It felt like you wanted to get the best out of us, and it was a really supportive room, thank you.”
Graeae’s Ensemble training programme is for young D/deaf and disabled artists who wish to train in theatre making skills. It’s run in partnership with RADA, LAMDA, Rose Bruford College and Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Students from past years have gone onto further training in mainstream drama school, or gained careers on stage and off within the industry. We are currently fundraising for a third year. Visit www.easydonate.org/stage
Contact: Jodi-Alissa Bickerton, Creative Learning Director. 020 7613 6900.
Write to Play is an initiative to develop the skills of D/deaf and disabled writers across the country. We are currently in the sixth year of the programme, which is running in the South West of England, with five D/deaf and disabled writers working with mentors and leading theatres in the South West, including Stage Sight member Bristol Old Vic.
Graeae contact: Jodi-Alissa Bickerton, Creative Learning Director. 020 7613 6900.
Bristol Old Vic contact: James Peries, Literary Associate
At Graeae, we run several training programmes to help improve both on-stage and off-stage diversity within the theatre sector. One of these is Dare You, an inclusive leadership training programme, delivered by Jenny Sealey MBE (co-director of the London 2012 Paralympic Games). Explore authentic communication, discover hidden talents amongst your workforce and develop self-awareness. This is a bespoke package that can be delivered tailored to your needs.
Contact: Jodi-Alissa Bickerton, Creative Learning Director. 020 7613 6900.
We are actively seeking women of colour and in particular BEA (British East Asian) creatives and production teams.
We will be redesigning our online content to celebrate off stage training experiences and career paths, and highlighting the opportunities available in these areas within our member schools.
We represent the FE sector on the Leeds Cultural Education Partnership, which is working to develop a through line of learning from school to industry.
Our BTEC L3 in Production Arts has evolved to have pathways in Lighting, Sound, Stage Management, Theatre Design, Front of House, Costume, Hair and Makeup. This is delivered with the support of professional partners across Leeds.
We work with local industry partners and Leeds City Council through The Grand Futures project to organise specific events, awareness building and opportunities to promote off stage opportunities to young people.
The National College will be inviting professionals from across the creative and cultural industries to talk to students and apprentices about their job roles and professional practices.
The National College actively works with employers, many of whom are dedicated to increasing the diversity of their workforce. The National College supports this by encouraging employers to recruit from non-traditional backgrounds as well as supporting learners who may have learning difficulties and other needs through the support of their Industry Practitioners (assessors) and through a dedicated pastoral and welfare lead.
It is a long-term aim of the college to encourage more employers within the industry to create apprenticeships that will lead to permanent employment within their organisations.
We offer apprenticeships both in the office and in the warehouse. These provide opportunities for people from non-traditional routes to join the industry.
In summer 2019 Tangle launched AMPLIFY, a new a talent development project aiming to grow sector skills off-stage. It includes:
- Educator Training: delivered in partnership with Prime Theatre, an annual training programme for emerging and established theatre professionals to develop workshop practitioner skills.
- Regular opportunities for Resident Directors and Project Managers to work on upcoming projects
- Specialist placements in recorded sound and practical lighting design as part of our touring productions. Recipients receive a cash bursary and the opportunity to design their own programme of work in collaboration with Tangle’s creative team.
- Tangle Artist Support Network, a regular open forum for theatre makers of all kinds to come together, share practice, exchange ideas and problem solve.
Summer 2019 will see tangle launch a Recruitment Good Practice Guide that outlines our commitments to best practice in recruiting and staff support.
We are developing new video content to celebrate the successes of our Postive Action Trainees. We open up our tech rehearsals to groups to see what the roles do. We have a page in our programmes to unpack the roles backstage.
We have reviewed our recruitment processes and have now removed the need for application forms. We have held more careers days to develop opportunities and all staff play a role in recruitment. We advertise our jobs on all our doors to the theatre.
Local Exchange is our programme of work within the communities of our city and Greater Manchester. It sees us share and develop skills with these communities and help break down some of the barriers that prevent access to theatre and that the careers that make it.
Our priority for this programme is to reach people who may not otherwise feel that theatre is for them, and to bring together diverse groups and individuals – a true reflection of the environment in which the Royal Exchange exists. https://www.royalexchange.co.uk/local-exchange
Our Young and Elders companies both encourage and develop offstage roles.
The Young Company is our award-winning resident company for anyone aged 14-25. It offers 12 months of in-depth training for Digital Content Creators, Directors, Facilitators, Performers, Producers, Technicians and Writers. https://www.royalexchange.co.uk/young-company
The Elders Company is for people aged 60+ who take part in regular workshops and one-off projects to develop performance skills and learn more about theatre, create performance outcomes, and work inter-generationally with our young company. https://www.royalexchange.co.uk/elders-company
We have been evolving our recruitment practices to seek applicants from all communities and to ensure that we have significant and regular entry level positions available.
We are looking to attach emerging designers of colour to our creative teams, and to expand our training and pathways for production staff.
We are part of a Local Cultural Education partnership, which includes careers days and work experience with local schools.
We already run an extensive programme of talent development for 18 – 25 year olds creating alternative pathways into the arts for young people from the widest range of backgrounds. We are developing new opportunities for creative and backstage roles within this.
In March 2019, we’re hosting a two day intensive bringing together 10 early career Directors and 10 early career Set & Costume Designers to explore that relationship and process.
We have just hosted our first ever Trainee Sound Designer, a ten week placement supported by Brighter Sound which was targeted at female early career Sound Designers. We will host another of these placements with Brighter Sound in Autumn 2019.
We have run a successful training course through our Technical Skills Training Program.
We are opening up more accessible interview practices, including video interviews.
We have developed a new LinkedIn page which also now includes a “Life” page. We are focussing on greater visibility of off-stage departments and roles, including videos highlighting off-stage departments. We run departmental instagram take-overs, including technical departments, across CFT social media and LinkedIn channels and Prologue (initiative targeting 16-25 year old audience) and Youth Theatre channels. We also have a CFT Podcast promoting off-stage roles.
Contact: Eugenie Konig, Head of HR
We have developed of a database of organisations with a broader and more diverse reach with whom we share all employment opportunities, including Disability Arts on-line, Creative Access, ABTT and local colleges and universities. We are also aiming for broader advertising of employment opportunities, advertising nationally rather than locally. Through these initiatives we have seen applications for our seasonal technical roles increase by over 100% in all departments between 2018 and 2019.
Contact: Eugenie Konig, Head of HR
SOLT and UK Theatre’s training course, The Business of Inclusion, is designed to to help participants understand why inclusion is business critical, and to help them develop the inclusion conversation within their own organisation after the course. It is suitable for anyone with people responsibilities. The course is delivered by The Centre for Inclusive Leadership.
We will seek to develop training specifically targeted towards young professionals and engage communities in sound that have likeminded individuals who may practice sound outside of the theatre.
We will continue to promote the work of the sound world to those outside of the theatrical community and through educational work, seminars and suchlike to encourage those from backgrounds less likely to have been exposed to theatre careers.
As an association we are predominantly non-employing but we will seek to encourage our members and membership associations to actively seek to advertise positions, making them more accessible to the wider community. We will encourage them to work with us and Stage Sight to diversify their own recruitment policies.
UK Theatre’s Mentoring Programme aims to help individuals enhance their skills, gain confidence, and expand their networks. The programme lasts around 6 months with 3 to 4 meetings (in-person or via telephone/Skype) happening during that time. Mentors will help participants to set objectives – from career planning to building new skills – and create a plan to help the mentee work towards their personal goals. The mentor offers to share their time and expertise with the mentee, acting as a sounding board, a source of information or friendly words of encouragement, support, and advice.
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TheatreCraft is the UK’s largest free careers event for young people seeking an off-stage career in theatre. More than a careers fair, TheatreCraft is free and open to anyone aged 16-30. It offers attendees the opportunity to take part in workshops and talks led by inspirational and leading theatre makers, explore a vibrant marketplace of exhibiting arts organisations and education providers, connect with peers and potential employers through various networking opportunities and speak with experts in one-to-one advice sessions.
Find out more
UK Theatre and the Society of London Theatre’s Inspiring the Future of Theatre campaign is an industry wide initiative which aims to show young people the huge range of off stage careers available to them. We have recruited over 1000 ambassadors across the country who have volunteered to visit a local school and tell pupils about working in theatre.
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SOLT and UK Theatre have developed and run a suite of training courses around the area of disability equality, with the aim of helping organisations develop best practice on access for d/Deaf and disabled people in the workforce as well as theatre audiences. Our modular course provides learners with a solid foundation on which to base planning and policy-making around disability equality in their organisations.
Find out more.
For young people we run technical workshops, week-long projects that provide a practical insight into different off stage roles and skills. For young adults between ages of 18 – 25 we run Backstage Pass -an intensive two week exploration of all technical departments that culminates in the chance to put those skills into practice by creating a short fully realised piece of theatre.
Guaranteed interviews for all candidates for LX, sound and technical stage roles provided they meet the essential criteria.
We are actively pursuing new places we can advertise, and ways of advertising roles – we are particularly interested in advertising roles without strong reference to the theatre industry or the fact we are a theatre.
Will be launching a new series of online articles championing PoC in offstage roles, in partnership with Stage Sight.
This year Theatre Deli has launched an organisation wide initiative, ‘Unity in Diversity,’ with ACE funding. It includes an artistic programme of work by marginalised voices presented by 2 guest curators from BAME and queer backgrounds and addresses issues in organisational structure to ensure we have full representation both on and offstage.
Central is actively engaged in reviewing the inclusivity of its curriculum, and is committed to identifying and addressing any structural exclusion. This ranges from play choices and critical theory to training internal staff on best, inclusive practices in relation to stage hair and makeup.
Central has a broad range of outreach initiatives in all aspect of its training and will be developing these over the course of the following year. It runs a number of activities to profile off-stage careers in various underrepresented communities, and to address the profile of all career options in live performance work to counterbalance the decline in drama and theatre studies in the national curriculum. This includes regional outreach and student ambassador schemes. Please contact Verna Rhodes for details, or Peter Rice for specific queries about technical and design initiatives.
Central has recently undertaken an external review of race equality, diversity and inclusion and will be developing an action plan to increase representation from underrepresented communities through targeted student and staff recruitment activities. For staff recruitment initiatives please contact Nuala Conway and for student recruitment initiatives in relation to off-stage work, please contact Peter Rice who will confer with relevant departmental heads.
Anyone involved in apprenticeships is now included in our lowest cost student membership (including a trial for only £7.00).
We will broaden our outreach to prospective members to FE colleges and schools to reach people who are less well represented in our membership.
We continue to offer professional development training to those stage management members who need it most – at a discount price of only 25% of the regular members price – to improve skills and employability for those who are least able to pay for their own training or have it paid for them.
We continue to experiment with different recruitment methods – such as removing personal details from application forms, changing the kinds of questions asked on application forms and different interview formats ,and evaluating the results of these changes.
We commit to forging partnerships with social enterprise and charity organisations, as well as FE Colleges, to develop a work placement scheme which offers successful and meaningful placements to people from underrepresented groups. This will run alongside our existing relationships with the Drama Schools and Universities.
In partnership with other arts organisations we commit to participating in high profile, high footfall careers events, such as Skills London and Big Bang, to inform pre-GCSE students, parents and teachers/careers advisers, of the range of careers available in the sector.
We have helped create over 7,000 apprenticeships opportunities in the sector since 2008. In 2016, on behalf of a consortium of employers and industry organisations, we established the first National College for the Creative and Cultural Industries to offer industry-led apprenticeships and higher level technical qualifications for the creative sector. This College now runs independently of Creative & Cultural Skills. We introduced the first creative apprenticeship frameworks in the UK and are now developing new Apprenticeship Standards (in England) to ensure apprenticeship routes into our workforce exist. We connect training providers to industry experts and enhance their offer to students. We lead the National Skills Academy for Creative & Cultural, a network of partners committed to improving the quality of vocational and technical education in the creative industries. Through this network, we reach over 600,000 young people.
The Creative Careers Programme (CCP) is an integrated industry-led programme of activity across England that is working to ensure there is a larger and more diverse intake of talent and a broader range of routes into the creative industries, a commitment of the Creative Industries Sector Deal.
This DCMS supported programme will directly engage young people at school and college, and careers advisers, to raise awareness of the employment opportunities in the creative industries and the creative economy (including creative occupations in other industrial sectors); strengthen education-industry partnerships; develop entry routes; and improve employment outcomes and the sector’s recruitment practices.
Creative & Cultural Skills works closely with employers to help them consider their approaches to recruitment, from how and where jobs can be advertised to help extend reach to where unnecessary pre-requisites for entry can be removed. We encourage workplaces to analyse their skills needs and nurture workplace cultures that promote staff development.
We have been provided with a bursary of £4,500 to enable backstage workshops / summer school to take place at very low cost for young people interested in finding out more about these ‘invisible’ areas.
We are creating videos for our websites to highlight the different backstage jobs and environments. We will aim to do this in programmes as well but still looking at the best approach for this as we appreciate that purchase of theatre programmes by audiences is diminishing locally.
We are working with local theatre and media training organisation, Boomsatsuma, to develop and promote their new diploma course in Production Arts (Stage and Screen) for 16-18 year olds. Boomsatsuma has had great success working with young people from a wide range of backgrounds in the south west.
Our Artistic Director mentors an individual through the Stepping Up programme, a Positive Action Programme run by Bristol City Council aimed at improving the representation of Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people, disabled people and women in senior leadership roles within Bristol and the wider region.
We are exploring a collaboration with Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (BOVTS) on a series of tech/production workshops in July 2019, covering a range of backstage skills, and investigating other opportunities for collaboration with BOVTS to support the development of new pathways.
We are offering technical/backstage placements where possible on Bristol Old Vic and BOV Young Company projects – examples to date include hosting a Japanese Director on a 6-month secondment at BOV supported by British Council/Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs; hosting a stage management placement from China on Touching the Void; a young BAME female on placement The Garden of Earthly Destruction, A BOV Engagement project with Headlong Futures.
We are holding a yearly Big Work Experience week for 25 Year 10 students, which offers experience of a range of roles across theatre including producing and production roles. During the week, the young people gain an insight into the everyday working of a leading regional theatre, learn about the diverse range of jobs available in the theatre and take part in a variety of workshops led by different departments, and complete the Bronze Arts Award. Priority is given to applicants from Bristol schools and academies and those who would otherwise not have access to the arts.
Delivering a Tech Training project through NT Connections, giving the opportunity for anyone interested in technical or backstage aspects of theatre the opportunity to work on the NT Connections Partner Theatre Festival at Bristol Old Vic in April 2019. Those on the placement will gain practical training alongside the BOV staff team in roles including stage management, sound design, AV, lighting, costume, design and producing. Four placements are available and no previous qualifications or experience are required, with selection being made via informal interviews taking place as part of an open Tech Training Info Session comprising an In Conversation with theatre industry professionals where candidates can ask questions, gain advice and have a tour of the theatre.
We have committed to seeking alternative forms of advertising to reach a more diverse range of applicants for roles at Bristol Old Vic, and guaranteeing an interview for applications with protected characteristics who meet the job’s essential requirements.
Contact: Kathryn Cleave, HR Manager
We have run open days and moved to shortlisting only on essential criteria for usher recruitment, ensuring that these frontline roles are open to all and leading to the recruitment of a more diverse staff team.
Contact: Liz Hebden, FOH Manger
We have run an open day for volunteer recruitment and currently have a pool of over 50 individuals actively involved in our volunteer programme, working alongside the Front of House team to welcome visitors and support the heritage engagement programme. The volunteer pool comprises people from all backgrounds including some with additional needs.
Contact: Lucy Hunt, Engagement Director
We have established an equality action group comprised of representatives from across departments who will meet regularly to discuss and drive forward our goals in improving diversity across all areas of the organisation’s activity including improved representation in the in-house and show-specific teams.
In line with Stage Sight’s goals, Warwick Arts Centre, the Belgrade Theatre and a number of Coventry partners are teaming up to create Backstage Youth, a series of workshops, courses and opportunities that form a clear alternative pipeline into technical theatre in Coventry and the Midlands.
This summer, we are introducing weekly drop-in sessions for technical theatre, taking place at the Shopfront Theatre, Coventry, and in collaboration with Media Mania. These are introductory workshops in lighting, sound, stage management, wardrobe and other roles, to incite interest and have a hands-on learning opportunity. Those expressing a commitment to technical theatre will have more in-depth sessions (with the introductory sessions continuing to run alongside them), leading to a small number of fully funded places on an ABTT Bronze Award course. We hope to be able to offer opportunities of shadowing and work experience for those that haven’t taken the ABTT course, and assistance for applying to work or university for those who have. There are 2 committed apprentice positions at Warwick Arts Centre for the Backstage Youth scheme, and other venues will be made aware of the participants’ achievements to consider them for future opportunities.
With the aim of nurturing talent in the city ready for City of Culture 2021 and beyond, we want the pool to reflect the diversity of Coventry and promote off-stage roles to young people.
We are currently investigating whether we can develop a way of utilising our professional members to talk more about their careers and work. These may be at open techs, or as stand alone events at schools or platform performances.
Our whole remit concerns those who work in lighting and video / projection for live performance, and the promotion of these disciplines as an integral part of the production process and creative team. We have members from 16 to 80(+) who are either working or interested in these areas, and we do what we can to promote them outside the industry. The SaveStageLighting campaign in 2018 did a lot to raise awareness of the lighting industry to the public with many articles and images in the mainstream press explaining why the proposed changes in legislation would affect all areas of the entertainment industry.
We are developing a new course for young, local people to gain an insight into off stage roles at a basic level, including construction, lighting, sound and stage management. In a series of Saturday workshops they will learn the skills to allow them to be employable by local theatres at an entry level. Taught by our own staff, it will also incorporate masterclasses from practitioners at other Southwark theatres.
Contact: Geraint Pughe, Head of Production Arts
The Arts Council requires National Portfolio Organisations in receipt of £250k or more to develop Equality Action Plans, outlining specific aims and challenges in regards diversifying their workforces and audiences, which includes backstage roles. More information and resources to support this work can be found here including Equality Action Plan Guidance in conjunction with Stephen Lawrence Consulting.
Arts Council has implemented a range of new recruitment internal and external approaches with the aim to make the process more inclusive. This includes unconscious bias training for staff and recruitment training for hiring managers, the culture change toolkit and advertising all permanent posts externally at the same time as we advertise internally. We have also reviewed where we place job adverts to reach a diverse candidate pool.
Art Council is a Disability Confident employer and member of Business Disability Forum to inform best practice on recruitment and employment of disabled candidates/employees. Arts Council guarantees an interview for any candidate with a declared disability that meets the essential criteria for the role.
We have removed the Criminal Records question from our application form, and have removed dates and name of school/ college/ university – candidates only need to declare qualifications which are relevant to the role they are applying for.
We have redesigned all interview record forms and shortlisting matrix documents and have written new guidance for hiring managers to reduce the potential for unconscious bias in our selection process. You can read more about Art Council’s changes to recruitment in CEO Darren Henley’s blog ‘Changing our Recruitment’
ETT are a partner organisation of COMMON, an arts organisation which supports theatres to achieve greater socio-economic diversity. ETT recently attended COMMON’s ‘Routes in’ event which explored some of the socio-economic barriers to employment in the arts and ways in which organisations can improve inclusivity. Following the discussions from the event, ETT have decided to update all job descriptions to ensure that there are no barriers which may prevent a person applying. Examples of this are removing any reference to university qualifications and a passion for theatre. We are also ensuring that we are clear about the parameters of the job, and that all touring costs (including travel/accommodation/per diems) will be covered by ETT and are not incurred by the individual. To learn more about COMMON visit, https://commontheatre.co.uk/
Alongside our Chichester Festival Youth Theatre we run a Technical Youth Theatre. Members meet weekly and explore all aspects of technical theatre and work alongside professional heads of departments on CFYT’s main stage Christmas production, our bi-annual promenade production and NT Connection productions.
We have established a Mid-Career Artists Programme – a privately funded programme supporting up to 4 mid-career creative artists annually to break through glass ceilings and develop their practice. Funding supports CFT in engaging mentors for those engaged in the programme.
We are launching a new podcast series in October 2019.
Chiara Lari interviews the team backstage at Disney productions in automation, production and technical management, Lighting, sound, mask and puppets, costume, makeup and wigs and more. Chiara finds out how they got to where they are today as well their tips for those looking for a career backstage and finding out about a few mystery objects along the way!
The Young Vic has a Young Associate Scheme where young adults from Southwark have nine months of paid work experience at the Young Vic. One of the four participants is based in our production department and works on productions in the three performance spaces.
The Young Vic regularly runs projects and initiatives through our Taking Part department that raise awareness of the different career opportunities and roles available in technical theatre. For schools and colleges we run career workshops as well as on stage workshops providing a hands-on experience of sound, lighting, and stage management on our main stage.
Visit the website
We have piloted recruitment initiatives within our technical and production department that aim to expand our existing pools of off stage workers by seeking out new staff and freelance contacts. As just one example, our wardrobe department has used an open recruitment process in the last six months for makers and dressers to expand their pool of contacts. This is an ongoing and regular initiative.
The Young Vic has a Recruitment Policy that across the organisation aims to make our work force more representative and inclusive. We are also a disability confident employer. This policy covers all areas of recruitment including job descriptions, advertisements, selection process, interview panels and retention. We also have ongoing training and staff panels that ensure we continue to improve the conversation and understanding within our organisation.
The Mercury is one of four regional theatres taking part in a new programme providing a full-time, paid placement for an Associate Producer of colour wishing to develop their skills and experience. The programme, which is supported by Arts Council England’s Sustained Theatre Fund, provides high-level support and mentoring for the producer over an 30 month period. The Associate Producer on placement will produce a new show, as well as delivering community engagement and artist development activities – all reflecting a strong ‘sense of place’. IGNITE is the name we have collectively given to these productions and projects. The programme’s ambition is to diversify the cultural workforce and reach wider diverse audiences across England.
We offer a week-long course (So You Want to Work in Theatre) for young people aged 14-18 interested in the theatre. This gives young people the opportunity to meet and work with industry professionals to find out what goes into producing a Mercury Theatre production.
Throughout the week, they will get a chance to work with:
- The Wardrobe Department
- Scenic Construction
- Technical Theatre Lighting and Sound
- Scenic Arts Department
- Audience Services
- Stage Management
We have held an open Creative Day to meet Creatives who haven’t worked at the Mercury before, particularly those of colour and from under-represented/protected groups in the hope that we can be more inclusive. This will become a semi-regular event.
Bridge the Gap is a new pathway to support creatives that are currently producing work in theatre. It is a year long programme that give participants training in commercial theatre. It is aimed at people who have experience in subsidised theatre and gives them the networks and skills needed to create in the commercial world. Each participant is given a mentor and a free place on our 3 day workshop. The training sessions are designed to fit around people’s full time commitments and for people who live outside of London.
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We are aiming to demystify the role of the producer and are careful when using language to make the role as accessible as possible. Attention has been paid to people working in theatre that may not realise they are producing, the role has been referred to as managing the show from conception to performance, with focus on stage managers and artists putting on their own work.
Bridge the Gap is a new programme launched in 2018 for aspiring theatre producers. The application form is two open questions, applicants are not asked about their previous experience or qualifications to ensure the recruitment process is as inclusive as possible. The programme was promoted using non-traditional platforms such as social media and shared with companies that work with creatives from unrepresented backgrounds.
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For Hull Truck Productions, we have started digital foyer exhibitions which include insights to the production team and their process.
We are undertaking open designer days to meet new designers across disciplines.
English Touring Theatre create behind the scenes video content to raise awareness of off stage roles:
English Touring Theatre have worked in partnership with Creative Access to recruit staff for positions in our office. So far we have recruited three staff members through Creative Access; one is currently a member of our team and two have gone on to work within the theatre industry, one as a Producer and the other as a freelance theatre Director and Creative.
Creative Access fills a gap in the current creative landscape by helping young people from black, Asian and other non-white minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds, as well as those with a lower socioeconomic status (SES), to secure both jobs and paid training opportunities in creative companies.
We provide training bursaries for members of minority communities not well represented in the technical and production sectors.