Portsmouth’s New Theatre Royal features in a joint collaboration with Highbury College in another first for the area.
The exciting new partnership will see students learning all about working backstage in a real theatre environment as part of a new diploma being launched by the College in September.
Highbury’s Emma Patchett explained that the University of Arts London Performance and Production Diploma focuses on backstage skills with a performance element.
“Many of the jobs in the industry now require backstage skills and, as always, we want to make our students as employable as possible so we’re delighted to be able to offer the fantastic opportunity of working with the New Theatre Royal, which will be an amazing experience for them,” she said.
“We’re the only college in the area to offer this type of performing arts qualification and the only one to collaborate with a theatre so it’s great news all round.”
Students will be spending up to one day a week at the New Theatre Royal and the rest of the week at Highbury Campus.
At the end of the two-year programme they will gain the equivalent of three A Levels so they can progress to university, an apprenticeship or directly into the industry.
The first group of hopefuls have already taken part in a series of auditions and workshops at the New Theatre Royal with the aim of securing their places on the course.
“It went really well and we had some very good feedback,” added Emma. “The students really like the idea of learning performance AND backstage skills, and we’re extremely pleased that the New Theatre Royal team were so keen to work with us in developing new, local talent.”
Caroline Sharman, the Theatre’s Artistic Director and CEO, said: “This is an exciting opportunity for us as it chimes perfectly with our ambitions to be a learning theatre and offer support for local people to develop backstage skills”.