How did you start off in theatre?
My first memories of theatre are of being taken to musicals as a child and literally wanting to be up there. From then on, I simply kept saying yes and trying new things, which is how I have found my way to devising, directing and writing theatre with young people in Luton.
What is the best piece of advice you have for students today?
Don’t let anyone tell you to have a back-up plan. Can’t find work? Then make work and learn the art of networking. Value your work and yourself and don’t stop playing.
What would you change about training in the UK?
The kind of training that markets itself as ‘fame-focused’ and on making people ‘stars’ only creates false hope. This needs addressing so that industry realities are taught instead, along with the range of skills required to help students become as multi-skilled as possible in the current climate. Accessibility for all must continue to be high on the agenda of all training providers.
What is the best part of your job?
Knowing that, in some way, the arts have helped a young person find themselves. This summer we’re running a range of pay-what-you-like pop-up events and activities across north-west Luton to connect with new audiences and young performers.
And your least favourite?
Not always having enough time in the day. Admin sadly often overtakes creativity.
Who are the practitioners you admire the most?
Colin Salmon, our patron, genuinely inspires us. Not only as an actor, but as a man. He sees the power of art and its power to help communities reach their deserved potential. As a writer, I really admire Jack Thorne and his ability to represent the under-represented authentically.
What is the one skill that every successful theatre professional should have?
The ability to multitask and keep plates spinning simultaneously.
David Lloyd is a director and writer who teaches at Next Generation Youth Theatre, Luton. He was talking to John Byrne