November 5, 2023

Apprentice Zoe learns vital off-stage role

The “tech box” tucked away behind the audience’s backs is a great place to learn about creating drama magic on stage.

So we are always pleased to help young people gain skills and experience in an unsung, unseen but vital off-stage theatre role.

Our latest apprentice technician is Zoe McKean, who is just weeks into a two-year course that combines online study with practical work ranging from sound and lighting to projecting movies and opera screenings.

Zoe, 18, is a former Sheringham High School and Paston College student who has been a member of our youth drama groups, and gone on to help run the sessions.

When the vacancy came up it was college tutor Simon Thompson, husband of theatre director Debbie, who suggested Zoe applied for it, and she was successful.

Zoe said: “I am really enjoying learning about lights, sound, and have already been helping with shows like Blithe Spirit and some Royal Opera House screenings.”

She recently caught up with one of her predecessors Chris Sainton-Clark, who did the same course in 2019-21 – with the added hurdle of the Covid pandemic which made logging evidence of practical work all the harder when the theatre had to close temporarily.

“If, like me going to uni or drama school isn’t for you, an apprenticeship can be a lifesaver,” he said.

“I learned so much, and understanding about staging drama has helped me touring my own shows,” added Chris from Corpusty who has set up his own drama company Raising Cain Productions, where he writes, acts, and does his own tech work.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said: “One of our most important roles is to provide opportunities and support for young people. We love watching young people develop their skills and see them thrive!”

Share This with your Friends and Family...