Interview with Abi Aspinwall, Theatre & Event Technology Level 3, aged 17 from Ulverston
Why did you decide this course was for you?
When I finished year 11, I went to sixth form and after a year I decided it wasn’t really for me and realised I loved working in theatre and events. During the year at sixth form, I took part in two performances, Carousel and Aladdin, as part of extra-curriculum activities at the school. I performed in them both and took responsibility for stage management, props, costume and the set. When I was helping the director of another play outside of school, her mum said I’d be really good at stage management. I knew Kendal did theatre but not Theatre and Event Tech. Me and my mum looked through the website more closely and saw it! It was August, I came in for an interview the next week and started the week after!
What do you like about the course?
I like that the course is really diverse so you can do a bit of everything and it’s really good at team building. We rig lights, make stage sets, we source and record sound (for example through the internet or recording live sound through one of our recording devices), create and gather props, and stage manage.
Is it like what you expected?
It kind of is, I expected it to be not as regimental as school. It’s different from school, a good different, as you have more freedom. You have assignments to complete but it’s your responsibility to get them done and we are assessed through blog work and the practical work we do.
There are no groups like the ones at school – ‘posh’ ‘popular’ ‘nerds’ – instead you get your course name with a twist e.g. ‘twerlies’ for the actors, ‘techies’ for us, ‘filmies’ for the film guys, so it’s not negative.
It’s like a big family, everyone pretty much knows everyone. If you’re not feeling 100%, people will notice and they have your back.
What’s a typical day on the course?
On a typical day everyone is working on getting their sections done, so two people may be on lighting, three on sets and two on props. This week, we’ve been sorting out all the sound effects that we need for Comic Potential, a farce play about a TV studio and actoids. I’ve had to source sounds for a hospital ambience (background), so we got sounds for drips, people crying, heart monitors and then combined them together.
There are big projects we all need to get together to work on. The set is a big thing, we have to create a TV studio that then has to turn into two hotels, a restaurant and a boutique shop! For the hospitals, we’ll change the headboards and duvet cupboards.
We learn by doing… 90% of the time is practical, 5% director meetings and 5% sitting down work, e.g. for a lesson on how to market the show or create our own business. We write evaluations of what we have been doing on our blogs and this is our assessment, along with people observing our practical work.
What would you like to do after College?
After College, I’m going to apply for apprenticeships with the BBC, ITV and SKY in their theatre production teams.
What tips would you give people thinking about joining this course?
Get the full prospectus, even if don’t know what you want to do, you can have a look at them all in detail and then pick and choose what you want to do!
CLICK HERE to find out more about the Theatre & Technology courses.
CLICK HERE to read Abi’s blog article about their trip to the West End!