Getting gory, fancy and noisy with Careers in Theatre Edinburgh 2018

The Scottish Drama Training Network is thrilled to once again be partnering with theatres across Scotland to create Careers in Theatre events for senior phase school pupils. These workshops are designed to inform pupils about the varied and exciting career pathways available in theatre and the creative industries. We were delighted to welcome pupils from Queensferry, Wester Hailes, St Augustines and The Royal High School.

In September 2018 – in partnership with our friends at the Traverse Theatre, The Lyceum and Capital Theatres – we hosted a full day of vibrant, informative and fun participatory workshops in Special Effects Make-up, Sound Design and Costume Design.

The participating students had some great feedback about what they learned;

“I had no idea what is was like to produce sound and music, it is so much more complicated than I expected”

“This has made me realise how all the different sections tie together and depend on each other”

“I had lots of fun and got to be taught by (theatre) professionals”

“There are a lot more jobs and tasks for the production crew than I thought”

“I thought I only wanted to act but all the creative stuff is really fun too”

Pupils took part in practical workshop sessions in Sound Design with freelancer Gary Cameron, Special Effects Make-Up with Michelle Lyons, and Costume Design with Capital Theatres’ Learning & Participation Coordinator, Cat Sheridan.

They were treated to an exclusive day behind the scenes at the theatres and when they tried their hand at Costume Design, they got to do it on the awe-inspiring stage of the Festival Theatre, the biggest performance space in Scotland.  Cat Sheridan of Capital Theatres shared her thoughts on the experience and its value;

“I always look forward to working on our main stages, Capital Theatres has a number of great studio and adaptable spaces, but working on the largest stage in Scotland always adds an extra bit of excitement to my day. This year we were lucky enough to grab the stage for our Careers in Theatre workshop, working with local Edinburgh secondary schools to take over the stage space, with a heap of raw creativity and recycled materials.  Our Career in Theatre Day – in partnership with the Scottish Drama Training Network, The Lyceum and the Traverse – aims to offer a hands on approach to exploring backstage and production roles within the theatre industry. Working with S3/S4 students this year we hosted our own in-house design challenge, tasking everyone with creating futuristic and suitable costumes based on the upcoming National Theatre production of Macbeth. Following the process of sketching, structure and then building, we finished the session with a fierce fashion catwalk that tested the stability of the brilliant designs.

Running days like these are vital to future proofing our industry, ensuring that as many young people as possible get a hands on experience of the various career opportunities there are within the arts. It’s great that the changes to the Higher and Advanced Higher curriculum mean that production skills are being incorporated in to the course, but generally speaking the students who choose to study drama at that level are looking to develop performance and directing skills. This year we focused on working with S3/S4’s in the hope of capturing interest in alternative theatre career options before they make their subject choices. The reality of most curriculum structures mean that many students who may excel at costume design or love being a stage manager, don’t discover this until later in life, because the majority of opportunities in early secondary relate to acting. Providing a taster of the skills, process and possibilities that a career in something like costume design can offer is a brilliant way to ignite a spark of interest or build confidence for a student who is unsure if it’s something they want to do.

For me, the best part of working with diverse groups of students with different levels of interest, is seeing that moment of connection and spark of excitement appear in their eyes as they run in unison towards the costume materials . Every time we get to the build challenge, an element of competition helps raise the stakes, and we see a change from slightly self-conscious to determined leaders; solving problems, adapting to materials and building fully fledged outfits on their models. I am yet to see a student step out or worry about what they are making because the nature of my workshop is to keep the tasks simple, fast and a little competitive. Combined with the amazing imaginations of all our participants and the joyfully silly catwalks, it makes for a great introduction into a skilled profession. Which is why SDTN is such a crucial partner for us, as they are perfectly positioned to sign-post any full or part-time courses to interested students, and that can turn a fun workshop into a fully-fledged career path.”

Cat Sheridan – Learning & Participation Coordinator, Capital Theatres

A big thank you to our “buddy’s” who supported us on the day – Lottie Cuthbert and Sophie MacLean.

SDTN are committed to broadening the horizons of students interested in drama and we aim to provide relevant and up-to-date information on the many different career pathways in theatre available to young people today.

If you would like to know more about our Careers in Theatre events or if you would like to get involved, please email 

Event photography for the day was by Ryan Buchanan




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