Keswick rolls out a careers carpet
Earlier this month, Theatre by the Lake in Keswick was filled with young people as students flocked to the building to take part in a series of backstage workshops.
More than 100 pupils aged between 13 and 16 from four local schools—Furness Academy, Solway School, West Lakes Academy and Whitehaven School—took part in the event, called Creative Choices.
Designed to encourage young people to think about career opportunities in theatre other than performing, the day provided participants with the opportunity to take part in a selection of 10 different workshops.
The workshops, run by staff from different departments in the theatre, covered backstage careers such as lighting and make-up, right through to administrative areas such as casting and Box Office. Students were encouraged to be hands-on—they added sound effects to a script, rigged lights and gave each other wounds using fake blood and prosthetics.
Students were also given the opportunity to see the impact that the work they sampled throughout the day has on a performance. The day began and ended with a performance of the opening of current summer season show Bedroom Farce—first with no backstage assistance, and then fully-formed including the sound, lighting and actors.
The theatre’s head of education and participation, Annie McCourt, hopes that the event highlighted to students the importance of every department in the theatre: “even though the audience only really sees the actors, the show as a whole would never make it to the stage without the creative contribution of everyone who works here.”