Creative Choices Live! in Suffolk

 23 November 2016

This autumn, DanceEast, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds and New Wolsey Theatre opened their doors to 260 students, aged 13-18 years, from eleven schools and colleges from across the county, for Creative Choices Live! Suffolk.

“We recognise these opportunities as essential to developing in young people, a life-long passion for the arts.
“We recognise these opportunities as essential to developing in young people, a life-long passion for the arts." Credit: Suffolk New College

What is Creative Choices Live!?

Creative Choices Live! provides a fantastic opportunity to discover the many varied career pathways in the creative industries.  It gives students a unique opportunity to learn about working in theatre, music, dance, design and other creative careers.

Students take part in hands-on workshops and talks from industry professionals including production, stage management, technical, front of house, box office, customer care, creative roles and communications and marketing. 

90 per cent of students said that as a result of taking part in Creative Choices they felt more aware of career opportunities and were now thinking about a career in the creative industries.

Helping the students of Suffolk

It was the third year of celebrating Creative Choices in Suffolk and this year was celebrated through support from Suffolk County Council, bringing further benefits for Suffolk young people.

Christina Birt, Skills Academy Manager at Creative & Cultural Skills, said: “Over 35 young people attended the new career clinics and feedback shows the significant contribution this opportunity makes to young people. 

Creative Choices is a spark; it’s the place where things get learned and stuff gets done.  

It helps them develop informed decisions about their futures and careers and leaves them feeling inspired and motivated to be ambitious”.

Work experience opportunities were also included for students from Suffolk New College, including events assistants, film makers and photographers. 

As an Education Partner of the National Skills Academy, Creative & Cultural, students are invited to respond to live briefs.

Photographer James Fletcher mentored the students for one live brief, giving them valuable support.  One Suffolk New College student said: “This really helped build my confidence and was a great opportunity to go outside my comfort zone and get real hands-on experience. It’s definitely been life changing”

Experiences of those involved

The experience was eye opening for many students who said that they had never thought before about some of the jobs introduced in Creative Choices.  One school participant said: “Before today I wanted to be a beauty therapist but now I want to be a dance producer".

This really helped build my confidence and was a great opportunity to go outside my comfort zone

Another said: “I always wanted to be a performer but now I am interested in arts education work. I never thought before that I might be a freelancer, now I see how see how that could be possible”.

Jayne Knight, Arts Development Manager at Suffolk County Council said: “Creative Choices is a spark; it’s the place where things get learned and stuff gets done."

"No one’s tested but everyone is stretched – it’s the best careers experience going. Suffolk is proud to champion and support it”

Director and Chief Executive of Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds Karen Simpson said: “Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is committed to supporting children and young people in their endeavours to connect with theatre and creative organisations.”

“We recognise these opportunities as essential to developing in young people, a life-long passion for the arts. Creative Choices is a great enhancement to the work we do within our enrichment programme and work experience weeks.”