Curtains up at theatres for folk thinking an ‘actor’s life’s for me’

Behind the scenes: Creative practitioner Sarah Clough showing people, including Mike Hands, left, the Crucible stage during their Theatre Experience Day.
Behind the scenes: Creative practitioner Sarah Clough showing people, including Mike Hands, left, the Crucible stage during their Theatre Experience Day.
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DO YOU dream of a career treading the boards?

Do you imagine pulling together costumes for opening night at The Lyceum or creating sets for The Crucible’s main stage?

Curtain raisers: Creative director Daniel Evans gives a talk.

Curtain raisers: Creative director Daniel Evans gives a talk.

Sheffield Theatres are opening their doors to the public with a programme of interactive workshops designed to take people behind the curtains.

“We’ve got a whole host of things lined up in the coming months,” said Sheffield Theatre’s creative producer Andrew Loretto.

“We’ve got ‘Behind the Curtains,’ which gives families an imaginative backstage tour of a real production and the ‘Sheffield Sizzler’ with comedy and musical performances from local artists at Crucible Corner and in Tudor Square.

“We’re going to be running summer schools for kids over 12, where they can develop their acting skills and learn all about stage management and lighting and we’re also giving lots of tours and talks with our various heads of departments, actors, directors and crew.

“We want the people of Sheffield to be co-authors of Sheffield Theatres.

“We’re encouraging complete interaction between ourselves and the local community and we also want to offer up training and work experience opportunities.

“It’s a really exciting time!”

Andrew’s role, which was created late last year, is geared specifically towards opening up Sheffield Theatres to the public.

Curtain raisers: Enraptured schoolchildren.

Curtain raisers: Enraptured schoolchildren.

He said: “I spent a great deal of time when I first got here going out into the community and talking to people, teachers, artists and community activists, finding out what they want from us.

“Since then I’ve been delighted with the calls we’ve had from Rotherham College, Doncaster Little Theatre and Sheffield Hallam University.

“We get a lot of inquiries from people who want to come and do work experience with us or find out more about how a professional theatre works.”

Mike Hands, aged 21, a student at Rotherham College studying Technical Theatre, attended a theatre experience day where he got an overview of everything from front of house, wardrobe and lighting to directing, marketing and set building.

Exciting time: Andrew Loretto.

Exciting time: Andrew Loretto.

He said: “I definitely want to work building sets for theatres. My time here has just confirmed that for me.

“I knew there would be a lot that goes on behind the scenes of a theatre production but there’s so much more to it than I first realised.

“One of the guys in the construction department actually took my number and is going to give me a call so I can come back and do some work for them.”

Andrew insists the event is just the start, with many more programmes and workshops building up in the next couple of years.

“In times of economic challenge such as these, Sheffield Theatres has a responsibility to promote training, skills development and help build pathways into future careers,” he said.

“We’re the largest theatre complex outside of London and it’s a nationally respected venue. This means we have the opportunity to bring national attention to our local artists and crew and the work they do.

“Sheffield is full or talent, creativity and enthusiasm and we’re here to support it.”