Last week we were thrilled to welcome Walthamstow resident Becca Elsey, learning the ropes in our Dean Street Technical department. Becca came to us as part of Waltham Forest Council’s Future Formed, which provides Waltham Forest residents with technical training and paid placements in theatres across London, including at ours in Dean Street. We spoke to Becca as she was wrapping up her week at ours to ask about her training and placement experience.
Why did you apply to Future Formed?
Originally I trained as a Stage Manager. Recently I noticed that a lot of theatres are looking for Tech Stage Managers or Tech Assistant Stage Managers. And because I did my Stage Manager degree during Covid, unfortunately I didn’t get the hands-on technical experience that I was hoping for, so I applied to Future Formed because it was an opportunity to get the hands-on practical technical experience that I needed.
What’s your link to Waltham Forest?
I’m born and raised in the borough!
What did you get out of your Future Formed training and your placement with us?
The training gave me the reassurance that I needed to practice the skills needed independently. And then at Soho Theatre I’ve been able to get hands-on experience in each of the theatre’s three spaces. Because of the festival-style programme at Soho I was able to get several weeks’ worth of experience in one night! The team have been really great at supporting me, for example I worked on Salty Brine and as I’m still learning about sound, the tech team took the time to go over that with me.
Do you have a favourite moment from your time at Soho?
I really enjoyed getting hands on with the get-in and tech for Adrian Bliss. And also Salty Brine, the change-over, it was really hands-on. For example we had to move the lighting desk, I helped get some staging into place, I moved instruments on stage, plugged in mics. Watching a show get mixed live was really interesting because that’s something I’d not experienced before.
What do you hope to do next?
Hopefully going confidently into technical stage management roles or doing some casual theatre tech-ing. I’ve actually really enjoyed the hands-on experience of being a venue tech for a week.
What would you say to people in Waltham Forest thinking of taking part in Future Formed?
I would say go for it. It’s helped me grow my confidence and it’s a really valuable networking process. All the people on my course, we’re already getting messages on our group chat saying, ‘hey, the place I’m working at right now, they’re looking for casual technicians.’ You’re really well supported. Even if you have fears or doubts about it, it’s good to know you can hone your skills and gain new ones.
Because of the festival-style programme at Soho I was able to get several weeks’ worth of experience in one night!
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See where we're up to refurbishing the old Walthamstow Granada into a state-of-the-art 21st century comedy venue in the heart of the Waltham Forest community - Soho Theatre Walthamstow.