Is there a way to start out in backstage work in my area?

I am interested in working backstage theatre work. I am creative, imaginative and artistic. I also enjoy creating make up and hair designs. Looking on your website I was drawn towards the Scenic Engineer, Set & Costume designer. I live in Southend On Sea and I was wondering if there are any apprenticeships in my area and also what college courses would be relevent.

Thank you for any help you could offer

Kieran Causer

— Kieran Causer

Expert answers

Emily Malcolm's reply:

Hi Kieran
Thank you for your question
There are lots of different ways to get in to working backstage and I am sure there will be many in your area.
Does your local college offer a BTEC in Production Arts? These courses don’t just offer training but will also give you work experience opportunities. It is important to get hands on experience while you are training not just so you can you put your newly learnt skills in to practice but also so you can meet people in the industry. You can learn from professionals and ask advice about the industry.
Its also worth getting on to the casuals list of your local theatre or venue. They will always be looking for people on the get in and get out days and this is a great first step in to working backstage. These days can be long and will start early or very late but that is the nature of the business and its good to get used to this.
Lastly it is worth talking to local amateur dramatics groups, especially if they perform in local theatres. Amateur groups need as many volunteers off stage as they do on stage to make their performances work and this is a great way to learn. Often groups perform in local professional theatres so the volunteers for the amateur groups will work alongside in house technicians gaining excellent experience.
I hope this helps.

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