Routes into a Theatre career - Blog by Jake Castle

I am a 22-year-old Theatre arts student originally from Essex who is a self-confessed theatre nerd. I tend to spend my free time when not working, going to the theatre, to see the wonderful theatre on offer at Derby. My overall aim is to be a theatre director specialising in making theatre accessible to all.

My current role on Front of House covers a range of things you would expect in the role such as ushering, but also working behind the bar and café. When there are school shows, I am outside in my tremendous bright green high-vis jacket, directing coach loads of school children into the theatre. There is something wonderful about the variety of one day ushering a gripping thriller that has you on the edge of your seat, and the next, to be flamboyantly steaming milk for a customer’s one shot-dry-skinny-extra-hot-caramel-cappuccino with chocolate sprinkles.

Some may say it is luck, others may say you put yourself in the right position to create your own luck. Having become rather acquainted with the theatre through studying at the University of Derby and seeing the majority of studio shows, I was certainly aware of Derby Theatre.

Having had a fantastic time volunteering for Departure Lounge in 2016, I actively found myself seeking out vacancies within Derby Theatre. Upon looking I found there was a position on Box Office which naturally I applied for just wanting to be in the folds of the theatre. I did not get the job but I contacted the House Manager, who happened to be a wonderful lady who I had worked with on Departure Lounge, to see if there was anything on offer. And that is how I got my current job on Front of House!

I would have to say my favourite part of the job is the ability to hear first-hand what the audience thinks of the show, being taken on that journey with them, being on the front line hearing their enjoyment. For me personally, as soppy as it may sound, it really brings a sense of pride to know I have been on that journey with them over the course of the evening.

Although I am still very much as the start of my theatrical career, and so I possibly can’t give the greatest advice, what I can say though is that just grab every opportunity you can. From my short time at Derby Theatre I have had several opportunities come my way that has on a professional level furthered my career - just based upon being open and saying yes. I am a strong believer that you can’t be in an industry unless you know that industry, and so what better way to know it than to keep your finger on the pulse and see where the theatrical scene is at the moment.

The most important thing I have learnt from working at Derby Theatre is that going to the theatre is often an event for people. It maybe a cold miserable Tuesday evening for you, but for those people, they have spent their hard earned money to visit the theatre and so you have to make it memorable for them.  This is a something I have learnt that I have taken to my own work in creating theatre, acknowledging that whilst theatre is just playing pretend much as children do, it does come with a sense of responsibility to do it justice for its audience.