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Stagedoor Learning teacher Jenny Cameron: ‘We run the risk of theatre becoming a hobby of the rich’

Jenny Cameron. Photo: Lewis Brown

How did you start in dance/performance?

I studied theatre at Warwick University, then did my PGCE, working as an English and drama teacher before moving to London. I was a jobbing actor for a year, but realised I missed teaching and went back into it full-time.

What is the best piece of advice you have for students today?

Take every opportunity to perform. See as much theatre as you can afford. Don’t wait to be taken on a trip.

What would you change about training in the UK?

At school level, the arts are disappearing – this needs to change otherwise we run the risk of theatre becoming a hobby of the rich and elite.

What is the best part of your job?

Bringing together a group of young performers who have never met each other and watching them turn into an ensemble. Their confidence and self-esteem grows daily.

And your least favourite?

Honestly, there’s nothing. I’m irritatingly positive about my job. It doesn’t feel like work.

Who are the practitioners you admire the most/who should students look up to?

Our partnership with the Everyman Theatre [1] in Cheltenham has given students fantastic opportunities to work with a range of practitioners. Favourites have included directors Ailin Conant and Bryn Holding.

What is the one skill that every successful theatre/dance professional should have?

The understanding that learning never stops. No matter where you fit in the industry, there is always something to be learned.

What is the value of having partnerships with the industry?

Our students work towards a Level 3 BTec Extended Diploma, and our partnership with the Everyman Theatre gives them access to industry professionals, from actors, directors and technical staff, to the people who make theatre every day. They get to perform in a professional space, with technical support, see a range of productions for free, and undertake work experience in myriad departments.

Jenny Cameron was talking to John Byrne. stagedoorlearning.org.uk [2]