Dave Moutrey and Jude Christian’s advice to new theatremakers

To celebrate World Theatre Day under the coronavirus lockdown, we hosted a live Q&A online with HOME’s Director and CEO Dave Moutrey and our Associate Director Jude Christian. You can watch and listen, or read the transcript, by clicking here. One of the questions was what advice the pair would give to a young theatremaker or actor just starting our in their career. Here’s what they said:

Jude Christian’s advice

1) Build your community, build yourself a network of people who you can trust and earn their trust and demand that they are trustworthy to you. Share things really generously with your people, with your friends and your collaborators. Be excited for other people as their careers develop in different directions and tell them when you need support, because it’s a brilliant way to work but it can be quite exhausting and quite bruising and just make sure that you’ve amassed your peeps.

2) Don’t be afraid of making practical decisions when you need to. Don’t ever feel like your artistic soul is being sullied by the fact that you need to do a job because you need some money or you need to connect with an organisation or you just want to learn how to do something, you just want to be going out there and working. Don’t feel the need to protect your ‘artistic identity’, just trust that you can be varied and you can still know who you are.

3) Ask people for what you need, whether that’s a general need or a very specific thing. It’s not about feeling like you have to have a comprehensive knowledge of literally everything in advance of every job and every conversation, but the more we all talk to each other, for example if there’s a particular form of technology that’s required within a project, if it’s about technicians or designers or makers needing to get to grips with it, just have those practical conversations. Don’t be afraid to identify what’s missing in the room, whether that’s knowledge or a really really highly trained particular skill set, and then to figure out the best way to go and get that thing, whether it’s somebody going and finding a form of training or looking for more people to expand the team.

Dave Moutrey’s advice

1) I’m always astonished by the number of people who want to work in theatre and don’t actually go and see any. Take as much advantage of seeing theatre as you possibly can afford. If you haven’t got a lot of money find the cheap seat options and go and see stuff. And even seeing bad theatre is worth doing, because at least you know why it’s bad.

2) Read. Read lots of playscripts, read about directors’ ideas around theatre, again you need to be informed. The theatre industry, I think Sir Isaac newton said ‘we’re all standing on the shoulders of giants’, if you learn from that that’s really important.

3) The other thing, which is a minor point – don’t whinge. There are plenty of people out there who will moan about stuff, and moaning, it’s a waste of energy, it’s energy that you could be putting into building connections, finding people to work with, making work. It’s about channelling energy in a positive way, rather than in a way that’s either negative or just neutral.

You can watch the whole Q&A back, download as a podcast or read the full transcript, here.

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