TOM Blog 1: Training and Joining Team Vera

I came on to the Foot In The Door scheme very late in the day, with little knowledge of what I’d signed myself up for. All I knew was that the scheme was meant to help emerging performers and artists make a start in the arts. Considering I was just about to finish my final degree module, concluding my three years at University, I felt somewhat cast adrift, not entirely sure which direction to head in to further my career as a performer but felt like the internship being offered might be the perfect way to try and figure out what I wanted to do next.

From the moment I stepped into the 24:7 offices I felt immediately accepted by the whole organisation. The first two weeks training with Proper Job Theatre Company were highly informative, incredibly well structured and very engaging. After experiencing so much fear and hesitation with regards to completing university it was wonderful to look forward to something so much on a daily basis. Proper Job created an environment that meant a group of twenty or so strangers were able to become a well-bonded supportive group within a matter of hours. Over the two week period this bond only grew stronger, and those who completed the training left with a new group of highly-supportive friends.

Proper Job’s training sessions concluded with each group member delivering a speech they had prepared based on themselves; a daunting prospect for everyone involved. It took a great deal of thought to write and then present my findings on what it really means to be… well. ‘Me’. The challenge set was difficult, but the gentle encouragement of Proper Job and their highly engaging programme of exercises gave me the chance to reflect on my past achievements and what I want to do in the future. Along with careers advice from PANDA I began to understand my true value as an artist, something that has eluded me in the past. I gained a sense of confidence to promote myself and to have faith in the extent of my abilities. After the presentations were over I felt a great sense of achievement knowing I had presented myself to the best of my abilities, as well as a huge sense of pride to have witnessed all of my peers succeed.

The advice I was given during these two weeks had a great deal of influence on the following few months of my life. As a gigging musician, my new found confidence in knowing the value of my skills as an artist led to a succession of paid gigs (something that was unprecedented prior to joining the scheme) This has been followed by several further paid bookings, which has resulted in me having the capacity to purchase higher spec audio equipment to further improve my music.  My presentation also resulted in me being accepted onto one of the Artist placements with 24:7 and I was delighted to be paired with Jayne Marshall’s wonderful play ‘The Lives and Loves of Vera Dymond’. I knew from the short blurb I had read regarding the play that there may be scope to incorporate music but had no idea that I would be given the privilege to compose songs and take on the role of musical director in weeks that followed. I truly believe my decision to put myself forward for the role was something that stemmed from the confidence I gained during the Proper Job workshops and feel I owe the company, as well as the group of peers I was lucky enough to meet, a great deal for helping me to realise what I was able to in the following months.

Tom – August 204