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Work Experience/Placement

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Hi Everyone,

I'm a Year 10 student (15) currently looking for work experience in a theatre or production environment. I'm very interested in lighting but would also be interested in other technical/stage management disciplines. I have designed and operated lighting for school productions of 'The Addams Family', 'School of Rock', 'The Great Gatsby' and 'The 39 Steps'. I have also designed and operated a 24 hour production of 'The Sound of Music' and have experience designing for talent shows and was follow-spot for a production of 'Honk!'. I'm also currently working on a design for 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'. 

Would anyone be willing to provide work experience in the Hampshire/London/Surrey area for the week June 24th to June 28th?  Or be able to share contacts/advice for securing a work experience place?

Many thanks,


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Sadly, this will probably be a non-starter in any theatre who know the law. There are three places where it is illegal for people in school, so up to 16, to work.

Abatoirs - I get this one

Nightclubs - this too really, but


My local theatre were approached by the council for a work experience placement. I mentioned the law, they laughed and said don't worry - but then in five minutes, discovered it was accurate. It even applies to amateur theatre - unless chaperones and licences are done.

Of course you might find somewhere where they don't know ....... but what if there's an accident?

TV is OK, but theatres are on th naughty list.

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Theatre is permissible if working on a youth-theatre production or if licensed by a performance licence (you won't get one of these for backstage work).

At the Rep we run a work experience week, which runs its own self contained performance, assisted by theatre professionals. We also run a large education/youth programme, which this year includes a backstage element, though we're only offering that to 18+ years of age.

You might find a production company who find themselves able to take you on, working on corporate type events, which I can't see ruled out in the laws.

P.S. Paul - there's a few more restrictions that work experience schemes do not discount, including work at height over 3m and 'heavy industry', alongside restrictions around sales of alcohol.

Edited by J Pearce
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Yep - get the other things, but such a shame that theatre is one of the three most impossible areas for young people to work in. I even tried to enable it for a university student, and discovered that while old enough to be outside the Childrens Act blanket ban, the insurance in place did know about the legal issue and had determined that any student required serious paperwork with responsible persons having to supervise and sign off - and I could not, as a visitor too, be that person.

Clearly theatres are far too risky places, full of iniquity and danger.

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Yes I concur in my very small time AmDram experience.

My grand son wanted to 'help me' while setting up for a show and running the tech in a church hall and came with me. As it happened I was on the list of keyholders but I found the lock had been changed, The administrator arrived to supply a new key and instantly put a stop to him assising me. The irony is he'd been in a previous show as a dancer and nobody batted an eyelid and since then I've assisted with children singing at meals with no issues.

A village hall where I assist with tech for the very significant panto for a village hall (eg lighting rig by Whitelight) suddenly council were involved with child inspections and permit issueing. I was advised an inspector even arrived in the middle of the run to check procedures were being followed.

I don't know the proper terms or procedures as I wasn't involved, other than helping provide acceptable privacy changing rooms. I got the impression each child had to have a separate responsible adult listed and there was a proper signing in and out sheet in place.


However helping in schools is different, as long as teachers are present I'm permitted to have junior school children hanging, addressing and focussing lights and rigging sound with due regard to H&S, working at height etc.

Edited by sunray
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If London is an option then perhaps somewhere like Whitelight could be an option for you? 

You're still learning about theatre lighting but you wouldn't need to be in an actual theatre. You'd be in a warehouse in Wimbledon. Geographically that seems pretty well suited as well. Otherwise Orbital Sound (Brixton), Delta Sound (West Moseley), Kinesys/TAIT (Hampton Court), etc. Plenty to learn in these environments too.

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On 1/15/2024 at 2:23 PM, paulears said:

Clearly theatres are far too risky places, full of iniquity and danger

Clearly. Thanks for both your replies Paul. I wonder if a company like Merlin might have an outdoor venue where I wouldn't officially be in a theatre? I imagine the same rules will apply though unfortunately.

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On 1/14/2024 at 8:10 PM, J Pearce said:

At the Rep we run a work experience week, which runs its own self contained performance, assisted by theatre professionals.

Thanks Jon, this looks really interesting and I'll definitely apply! Just wondered, how many places are there and is it hugely competitive?

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