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Old Vic young person’s programme manager Naomi Lawson: ‘Kids need tenacity to succeed in theatre’

Naomi Lawson. Photo: Old Vic Frontline Naomi Lawson. Photo: Old Vic Frontline
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How did you first get involved in theatre?

I did an MA in playwriting and found myself becoming very interested in outreach.

Tell us a bit about Front Line?

Front Line is a platform for young people who are interested in theatre, but don’t know where to start or what the opportunities could be. We particularly welcome applications from young people not in education, employment or training. By giving them the opportunity to shadow our front-of-house and box office team over a two-week period, they get a taste of what different roles theatre offers outside of being on or backstage.

What is your best advice for someone looking to start a career in the theatre?

Get on to as many mailing lists of the theatres and organisations you like as you can. There are many great programmes out there that give opportunities to young people wanting to get started in the industry. Knowing about them is the first step.

What is the best part of your job?

Seeing the journey young people go on over such a short period; their increased confidence and willingness to take on new challenges.

Theatre can be a scary business to get into if it’s not something you have access to

And your least favourite?

When young people think, ‘Oh, that’s not for me.’ Theatre can be a scary business to get into if it’s not something you have access to.

What is the one skill every young person should have when they start out in theatre?

Tenacity to chase what you want, openness to working with others, and an acceptance that you, and your skills, are enough.

Why do you feel it is important that young people consider a career in theatre?

Working in theatre is like being part of a wonderfully varied family. People often don’t often realise it can suit massively different skill sets and personalities. We need a wide range of young people to come and join, bringing new voices, energy and freshness that allow the family to keep growing.

Naomi Lawson was talking to John Byrne. Applications for Front Line will open in June

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