We recently received Tom Creed for a Creative Visit in our Castle Arcade offices.
Tom is Associate Director of Rough Magic, co-founder and Joint Artistic Director of Playgroup, Theatre and Dance Curator of Kilkenny Arts Festival and board member of the Dublin Fringe Festival.
He showed us his varied and prolific work and also talked to us about Seeds programme, an Arts Council, Aib and Rough Magic initiative to develop, find, enable, encourage and stage the work of new theatre talents (director, designer, writer, stage manager).

The development programme takes place over two years and includes assisting opportunities, international experience with leading companies and theatres, constant mentoring by established and highly experienced practitioners, and the possibility for the participants to showcase their work.

We are looking into different type of theatre talents’ development schemes at National Theatre Wales to inspire our future policy and have admired Seeds’focus on mentoring as the possibility to talk to an experienced artist who has followed the evolution of your work is crucial in someone’s career (and life)

We wondered what you thought of it and what kind of Theatre talents' development programme you would like National Theatre Wales to explore?

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Comment by Peter Cox MBE on August 21, 2009 at 7:53
We touched on this in a writers' group discussion a while ago. (What should the NTW writing policy be?)

I'm a real advocate for mentoring in all aspects of what we do as theatre makers and have seen the benefits of it first hand on many occasions. Below is part of what I contributed to the discussion with specific reference to writers.

APPRENTICESHIP / MENTORING

As a general principle we need to remember that new playwrights face many challenges but have few opportunities to learn alongside more experienced writers. The situation is generally less of an issue with directors, (where you can start as an assistant), actors, (where you might work in the same cast as 'old hands') or for musicians who often get the opportunity to play with more experienced musicians. Stage managers, lighting designers, stage and costume designers all have established routes through the 'assistant' model.

The position of 'assistant playwright' though is more wishful-thinking than reality. It is also common for many writers to come from outside the established training and learning pathways through higher education which many actors, directors and musicians follow.

Mentoring opportunities and an apprenticeship mentality from NTW would, I'm sure, reap significant benefit over time.
Comment by James Doyle-Roberts on August 20, 2009 at 22:20
I would be very interested in the kind of long-term mentoring that Seeds Programme is tackling. I'm currently making the transition from being an aerial-circus performer who sought more theatrically-slanted work, into directing a small studio show. My first production goes out on tour next month(ulp!).

My preparation for this has been solely through learning from directors as I've worked with them (both good and bad). There isn't really any kind of mentoring available for someone in my position so, I'll finish with a question: Will circus artists who have a good understanding of a range of theatrical styles, but find their bodies are less & less willing to perform to a high skill-level, only ever become facilitators for established theatre directors, unless they bravely go it alone?

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