I first found out about the Alumni Mentoring scheme after an email was sent around our department as my second year began to draw to a close, I was already thinking/worrying about what kind of relevant work experience I needed and saw this as a perfect opportunity to get in contact with industry professionals and start to understand the business I was about to enter. So I applied… At this moment in time I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to do when I left university I just knew I wanted to be involved in theatre. The Mentoring scheme isn’t just for those who have their career mapped out for them; it is also for those students who just need some friendly help and advice! And so the application process began (not as scary as it sounds) and at the beginning of my third year I was informed that I had been successful!
My mentor is Alan Davey, chief executive of the Arts Council. Alan has been working in the arts industry for years and has had contact with arts professionals for most of his career, as chief of the Arts Council he in charge of delivering ‘great art for everyone’. The Arts Council work hard to ‘support the organisations and artists it funds, deepening the value and impact of their work’.
My first contact with Alan was by email introduction and then a quick phone call to arrange a date I could come to his office in London. I was incredibly nervous, googling him obviously wasn’t a good idea as I began to understand just how important his job was but I was soon put at ease and began to realise that I had to stop being stars struck and start being honest about what I wanted to achieve from this programme. Our first meeting was basically a getting to know session, he wanted to know what part of the arts I was particularly interested in and how he personally could help me. I mentioned my interest in directing and quickly he drew up a list of ways I could pursue this and some contacts that might be helpful for me. We talked about the industry and found common ground in the theatre we liked/disliked.
Since then Alan has already got me in contact with a number of professional directors and I have some work experience with the Tricycle Theatre Company next week. I’ll let you know how I get on in my next blog.