So You Want To Work in Theatre?
Nick Hern Books
Having covered almost every high profile theatre role in this series, Nick Hern Books has now asked Susan Elkin to fill in the gaps.
So You Want To Work in Theatre? is rather an amalgam, taking in everything from directing, casting and making costumes or props to working as a chaperone, interpreter (for the visually or aurally impaired) or even critic.
Strangely, despite an apparent belief that acting has been done to death by so many other books, the final section, covering this topic, is particularly informative, especially about training and routes into the profession.
The result is a book that does not give a vast amount of coverage to any single discipline. As such, it will probably be of most interest to parents or other loved ones of children who are smitten with the stage but do not have a natural inclination to appear in public, write or direct.
The message is that even if you do not naturally believe yourself to be an actor but love going to the theatre and want to remain involved with it on a full-time basis, there are so many different jobs that could be considered.
The other possibility is that, like so many of the individuals quoted as authorities in the volume, would-be actors who find that work is impossible to come by might benefit by considering parallel careers that could either replace their first love or possibly fill in the gaps when starring roles in Hollywood blockbusters or big budget musicals are not immediately forthcoming.
The formula is very simple. The author typically explains what each job involves, presents a brief practical explanation from a practitioner of how they came to fill their current position and what it means, provides information on how to train or learn the necessary discipline and finally includes a list of useful web sites.
In most cases, the basic descriptions are good but what readers will really benefit from most is the information supplied by those who do this kind of thing day in, day out.
One hopes that given such a wide choice many of the purchasers or recipients of this volume will find it to be a stepping stone towards a happy and fulfilled life contributing to something that they love, probably behind the scenes.
Susan Elkin is very matter-of-fact in her delivery and clearly has a good understanding of all of the component parts that together make up the world of the theatre.
Reviewer: Philip Fisher