Offstage Insights: Young People’s Producer

Introducing Emma Thorpe, Young People’s Producer here at Theatre Royal.


How long have you worked in the theatre industry?

I have worked professionally in the theatre industry for just under two years.


How long have you worked at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds?

I have worked at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds since July 2021.


What is your role in the theatre?

Young People’s Producer.


What are your main responsibilities?

The best way I like to explain my job to people who don’t really understand what I do (mainly my family) is to say that I work on or I am involved in any project here at the theatre which incorporates young people. This can be anything from the Youth Theatre, funded schools’ projects such as Tiny Plays Big Ideas, Doorstep Theatre Festival or Shakespearience, bespoke school projects such as Mind and Voice, our After-School Drama programme, our in-house summer production, or our strategic programmes namely the Youth Advisory Board.


How did you get into this role?

I had always wanted drama to be involved in my work, but I knew from quite early on that I never wanted to be an actor full time.

So, with that in mind, I took Drama and Theatre Studies at GCSE and A-Level before going onto study a BA Hons in Drama and Theatre Studies with Education Studies at the University of Chester. Whilst at University, I was given many opportunities both inside of a drama classroom teaching secondary school pupils but also opportunities working with arts organisations such as The National Trust and Arts Council – both in educational roles but also in other departments.

As I realised that maybe I didn’t want to solely teach Drama within a school setting, I completed a Master’s in Arts Management, Policy and Practice at the University of Manchester where I learned about all aspects of art making from HR to Marketing, Creative Learning to Technical.

This gave me a wider understanding of the theatre industry in general.


Do you remember what applying for your job felt like?

I remember feeling really excited but also quite anxious. This is my first ‘real’ job in the arts. I had worked in bars and restaurants whilst studying and had completed many work experience placements throughout my education but have never been paid to do what I had been studying for.


What’s your favourite part about your job?

The variety in what I get to do. Due to the size of the team here at the theatre, you don’t always work solely in your own department, you can be working on multiple different projects across the theatre at the same time. I know it’s a cliché but no two days are the same.


How many people are in your team?

There are 3 of us within the core creative learning team however we also work with a pool of freelancers who go out on the road and deliver our creative learning projects so all together around 10.


What is your top tip/s for someone looking to get into your role?

Get as much experience as you can and take as many opportunities as you are able.  When you first start applying for jobs you will be going up against others who will more than likely have more professional experience than you. However, that doesn’t mean that you’re not incapable of doing that job.


Do you need any qualifications to get into this role? If so, what would you suggest?

I would suggest that for Creative Learning you would have a Drama/Acting qualification. You don’t technically have to have a qualification in education, however some level of understanding of the education system also comes in handy – especially when talking to teachers.


What has been your favourite production at Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds?

Away from Youth Theatre Presents, I would have to say Robin Hood. It was such a joy to watch.


What is your favourite theatre phrase/word? E.g. proscenium, upstage, rig…

Tableau – basically a fancy way of saying freeze frame!



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