On Wednesday 13th March, over 130 secondary school pupils aged 12-14 are taking part in a day of practical workshops, interactive demos and Q&A sessions to explore technical careers at the National Theatre and demonstrate the variety of skills in demand in the creative sector.

Creative Choices offers the opportunity for young people to learn about backstage and off-stage roles from top industry professionals across lighting, sound, set design, prop-making and stage management, as well as the huge value of science and mathematical skills in a theatre.

The day includes:

A stage management and technical demonstration on the set of Tartuffe followed by a Q&A with different departments on stage
Practical workshops exploring Lighting, Technical Skills, Mathematics of Design, Costume and Make-up
Backstage tours to glimpse behind-the-scenes at the NT, including set-building, props-making and preparation for shows
An opportunity for teachers and pupils to speak to NT Learning and technical staff about career paths and apprenticeships

Alice King-Farlow, Director of Learning said, “We’re excited to welcome so many young people to the National Theatre’s Creative Choices Day. The application of science, technology and mathematics is integral to many aspects of theatre-making and we hope to open their eyes to the vast array of technical and backstage roles. The creative industries are one of the fastest growing sectors of the UK and it is vital that we do our part to inspire young people to explore creative careers and ensure that the pipeline of talent into the creative industries are not diminished.”

Edge Foundation’s recent report Skills Shortages in the UK Economy found that despite the booming creative sector which generates around £92 billion per annum, there has been a fall of 57% in entries to Design and Technology GCSE and a reduction of 20% in creative subjects since 2010. Creative Choices is an important event which shines a spotlight on opportunities for young people with creativity and technical ability.

NT Learning has a range of programmes and workshops for young people to take part in and discover more about the variety of roles in a theatre, such as Make Theatre Days, How to be a Stage Manager and Getting Started with Set Design. The Young Technician’s Programme offers young people the opportunity to develop their skills and learn about technical roles. The NT’s Apprenticeship Scheme will be open for applications in the summer.

More info here.


Sophie Naylor - Scenic Metalwork Apprentice

“A typical day for an apprentice here does not much differ from a full-time employee. I come in and work directly with my team on new projects, creating all forms of metal structures. It’s always different, it’s hard to get bored because of how much it does change from day to day in the type of sets we make. As an apprentice here you will learn everyday as you go. I enjoy my role a lot as I feel I am really progressing in scenic construction. I love creating, and to be able to be doing it for a living is amazing to me.”

Olivia Richardson - Technical Theatre Apprentice

“Each day is always so different from the next in the technical departments. Fit up days, when we put in a new show, are always busy with everyone working on getting set in place for the actors to come onstage for the technical rehearsal. My apprenticeship has opened up doors into automation, so I would like to do something relating to this after my apprenticeship is over.”

Leah O’Connell - Wigs, Hair and Makeup Apprentice

“Being an apprentice is so good because I’m learning. I’m doing so much that I’ve never done before. I’m getting paid to do that, and I get qualifications and experience all in one. Recently I’ve worked on dog bites, scratches, a scene with disembowelling..! These were all part of my role, my responsibility, which was big for me considering I’ve never done anything like this before – it was getting in at the deep end. But I liked it because it was a challenge and they’d trusted me to do it – I was going to prove them right.

Before I did the apprenticeship, I didn’t go to the theatre, it wasn’t on my radar, it wasn’t part of what I was doing. But now that I’m in it, I’m watching more theatre and I’m getting my friends along to watch it and they’re more interested in what I'm doing.”

The National Theatre's Partner for Learning is Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Creative Choices is supported by The Edge Foundation