It was, give or take a few weeks, three years ago I had my first TEAM experience, attending a Leadership training course. This morning I received a letter welcoming me as a National Theatre Wales Board Member as TEAM Representative. It’s been quite a journey!

My experience of attending that Leadership Training day in early 2014 explains a great deal about what TEAM is about, what it means to me & why I’m proud to have been able to represent TEAM for the last three years.

In early 2014 I’d recently moved back to Mid Wales after a decade as an increasingly frustrated London based Actor. While trying to get bookings for a one man show I’d been touring in England, a friend mentioned the NTW online community to me. Whilst having a look around the community I saw a blog post offering a one day course in “Leadership Training” at NTW’s Office. This was certainly something I’d be interested in. It’d be great to (literally) get my foot in the door of NTW HQ. But the cynic I had become said this could be yet another opportunity for starving Artists to be parted with their money in order to be patronised by self appointed experts.

So, when I read that, if I was a TEAM member, the course would not only be free to attend, but that they’d also pay my bus fare, I saw that things worked a little differently at NTW!

I’m pleased to report that the training was very good. Carys Shannon was knowledgeable, helpful & very much geared the training towards Creatives. I believe many of us attendees learnt useful lessons from the day’s training. I also made many invaluable contacts that day.

But, I’m not writing this just to tell you what a smashing time I had on a training course three years ago. I learnt a lot about TEAM from the whole experience that day.

The simple act of inviting people into the office gave me a taste of the open nature of NTW. Everyone is welcome to participate.

The fact that the training was free & expenses were covered showed a commitment to getting rid of financial & geographical barriers to participation. This also demonstrated a commitment to people, valuing TEAM members & their contribution to the the Arts & Community in Wales.

This set off a chain of events for me as I grew to realise that TEAM & NTW were unlike many other companies I had come across. Many pay lip service to “Community” & “Inclusiveness”, NTW thrives on it. TEAM is not a community outreach project, it’s at the heart of what NTW is - a theatre company for the Nation of Wales - everyone can get involved, regardless of whether you consider yourself a professional, keen amateur or just interested in the arts. It’s about taking ownership - whatever that means to you. Be that being part of an online community, or influencing the course of & participating in a major production, & all things in between.

Off the back of that first experience I started getting involved in a variety of events - first offering my existing skills at Performance Parties then as my confidence grew I joined TEAM Panel. This involved confronting one of my big fears - giving presentations, as well as representing TEAM at a variety of events across Wales, engaging with communities & facilitating projects. TEAM has helped me develop my leadership skills & supported me in exploring new ideas. One of these ideas was to put together & lead a TEAM Choir. A very rewarding experience.

My newly developed & proven skills led,last year, to two personal & professional highlights. The first was being taken on as Chorus Coordinator for the show “Before I Leave”. The second was being invited to be a part of the incredible TEAM project “I’ll Sing This Song”. You can read up on the project here:

http://community.nationaltheatrewales.org/group/before-i-leave?

You can also download the app from the App store by searching “I’ll Sing this Song”

Today I find myself in the position of being a Board Member for the next year representing TEAM. Something I would never have imagined three years ago. That Leadership Training appears to be working!

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