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Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries. Image: Tine Bek

Emily Gatehouse reflects on the third Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Training Programme session

16 March 2016

Choosing a career in the arts is a difficult decision to make, because we are fully aware of the issues and complications that come with this decision before we have even started. Therefore, it was wonderful to be surrounded, and supported, by all those involved in this year’s third Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Training Event in Glasgow as part of the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries. The topic of this event focused on the life cycle of various different projects – but I feel the event covered so much more than that.

After many introductions, and a number of wonderful presentations from those involved in the bursary programme, we took part in cultural speed dating with a number of arts professionals who were involved in the productions featured in this event. At the start of the day we selected three people we wanted to “speed date” for 15mins. I chose Katie Nicoll, an independent producer, Claire Moran, Producer for Cryptic and Caroline Newall, Director of Artistic Development for the National Theatre of Scotland (I think you can see where my current interests lie – producing and theatre). Each woman gave me sound advice from their own difinition of the role of producer, to career guidance about the risks of finding your niche too soon, to ensure you develop many employable and appealing skills. But one comment I strongly recollect was from Caroline Newall who said:

There are no professional qualifications for us, and so we have to create our own career path and have to teach ourselves.

It held such a resonance with me because it is so true. With working, especially in the arts, you need to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right contacts and the right skill set to pursue your career. The only way you can assure these factors fall into place is if you actively make them occur. It is why training events and opportunities like the Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries are so important for those of us pursuing this career, and for us to make the most of them. I am very glad to have had this opportunity. It has allowed me to meet and learn from many people, who are all working together in order to strengthen the impact that the arts can have.