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Paul – Pitching/First week of placement

The first couple of weeks with the FITD scheme, through the training with PANDA, is a breath of fresh air. You’re not necessarily taught or being thrust information like in school or University, instead you explore yourself internally, essentially what you learn is that all of the answers essentially come from you, this course helps you realise that. Through the first two weeks of training with PANDA each member of the group came up with a five minute pitch each, and delivered it in front of industry professionals within the Lowry.

We received feedback from our pitches, which at first was quite daunting as very rarely in this industry do we tend to get feedback on ourselves as how we come across, it is very different to receiving feedback via being an actor, as being an actor we tend to be anything but ourselves, and so this whole process is incredibly valuable. In the theatre world everybody talks, and most people in Manchester know each other within the Theatre scene, so to hear what people think about how you come across first hand, is really a rare opportunity, and that is what has made this whole experience unique to me as practitioner trying to make to jump into the professional world.

Through my pitch I managed to gain a placement with ‘Box of Tricks Theatre Company’, which I was very grateful to have been offered as it was the company that I was most attracted too, due to its interests in nurturing new writing, and also its reputation as an up and coming, vibrant, Theatre Company, and one who’s name seems to pop up more and more each day. Their next project was also a play called ‘Narvik’ which was being put on down at the Liverpool Playhouse, and as I’m from Liverpool and also used to be a part of the Everyman Youth Theatre, this affiliation made me all the more interested in the company. I met with the Director and joint founder of the company, Adam Quayle, who runs the company with his wife Hannah, who is also a Theatre Director, to discuss the outline for what I was hoping to gain from the placement, and also what the company wanted from me.

The following week I came down to their office to first of all read the play ‘Narvik’ by Lizzie Nunnery, which was fascinating read as it mixed in poetic language with music, as Lizzie is not only a playwright, she is also a singer/songwriter. Later in the day I began work on typing up a marketing spreadsheet and listing contacts, who would be interested in the play, from both Liverpool and Manchester. I first of all put down the contacts that I already knew, which was handy as I’ve lived in both areas, and then I started to vary my search by looking up veteran societies, Universities, educational programmes from both music and drama.

Box of Tricks are very proactive whilst they work, and so a throughout the day various playwrights and practitioners would be coming in and out of the office and having conversations with Adam, making it all the more interesting an environment to be surrounded by as I was working, as you get a better insight into the goings on behind the scenes. It’s also interesting to take note of people and what they are doing in order to expand your pool of knowledge.

All in all it has been a fantastic start to my placement and I am loving every second of it, and I am in doubt that at this very moment, I am in the right place for my current development and that is very reassuring thought to have.

(FITD blog 2015)