The Backstage Centre Partnership Project

5 people stood in a circle talking

As part of New Adventures' work with higher education and Matthew Bourne’s production of The Red Shoes being created at The Backstage Centre, in Purfleet, we proposed a new project that gave students the opportunity to learn from our technical and production team.

In 2016 The Backstage Centre provided learning space for the first ever National College for the Creative and Cultural Industries, which includes learners for a Professional Diploma in Technical and Production at Level 4 - a year-long programme with a new cohort every year. During the course students learn directly within a professional environment, exposing them to the realities of the workplace. With New Adventures creating a brand new show in their space, it was the perfect chance for these students to access world class industry professionals working in their fields.

This exciting collaboration and partnership has involved students gaining an array of experiences with a variety of members of The Red Shoes technical and production team, such as networking opportunities, talks, case studies, question and answer sessions, practical demonstrations and set tours. The 2016/17 cohort of students also had the opportunity to shadow our technical and production team, observe rehearsals and take part in the load out of set and technical equipment from The Backstage Centre before The Red Shoes arrived in Plymouth.

Continuing our work with The Backstage Centre offered two students a placement with The Red Shoes technical and production team. Two students joined The Red Shoes team for a four-week block from Tuesday 25 April until Saturday 20 May. They assisted in get outs, observed get ins, and shadowed a member of the crew who works in their specific area of focus. 

Jack Jordan, an aspiring lighting technician on placement with Tania Tonini, Chief Electrician for The Red Shoes said:

"I am studying at the National College as part of the Creative and Cultural Skills to gain essential skills and confidence in carrying out tasks and the opportunity to work on The Red Shoes would help me build on these qualities. I was given a very exciting opportunity to go to White Light and meet the electrical team for The Red Shoes and help them prep some of the lighting equipment. Before joining the course, I worked on a casual basis at Southend Theatres (HQ) helping touring companies rig up lights, move set and follow spot in-house shows such as Jersey Boys and Sunny Afternoon. At the Palace Theatre, I often light and program some rock and roll gigs such as Roy Wood and his band, Rob Beckett and Reprezent Radio Event."

Our second placement student, Adria Vargas, worked with Chris Tonini, Master Carpenter for The Red Shoes and shadowed the areas of carpentry and production management. Adria said:

"I am extremely excited by the potential to work on tour with Matthew Bourne’s company on The Red Shoes production. My personal journey has brought me from Barcelona to the UK and has enabled me to align my hard working and flexible personality to my passion of working on live productions."

To find out more, visit The Backstage Centre website

The Backstage Centre