The greatest challenge for any young artist is to find real stage experience to learn their craft and help them carve out a career. All arts organisations have a duty of care to help this next generation of performers and craftsmen.
At The Grange Festival, young as we still are in our second season, we are dedicated to establishing schemes for understudies, assistants to directors and conductors and apprenticeship roles for the many technical roles behind the scenes. We started on a small scale in our first year with full understudy and assistant roles but with plans in place to expand to behind the scenes roles year by year. The months these assistants and understudies spend working closely with teams of internationally experienced professionals at the highest level is invaluable and can be the stepping stone to the next level.
Every singer gets ill occasionally, and, sometimes, perish the thought, on a performance day. But the show must always go on, and a replacement has to be found, sometimes minutes before the curtain rises. Every part needs to be covered for this unwanted eventuality, but in truth going on stage at short notice is the secret fantasy of every understudy.
This further level of casting and rehearsing is expensive but crucial to the smooth running of any opera company.
Our conductors and directors need assistants in the rehearsal studio – to take notes, to remind them, to be fully engaged with the intense work at every level. This is the perfect environment for young aspiring musicians and theatre directors to watch and learn on the job. Again this costs money but an able assistant learning their craft can become a vital part of the production team all the while developing their professional skills.
The level of talent backstage in an opera house is awe-inspiring. Costumes, wigs, make-up, lighting, sound, scenery, props, special effects and more: they all need years of training and experience to produce at a high level. We will build a broad range of apprenticeships for the few months it takes to put the technical aspects of every production together. The acquisition of practical experience working alongside professionals is an invaluable step at the start of these careers.
We invite you to support our young emerging talent and, who knows, you may be helping to produce a household name of the future. One can never (or almost never) tell. You can sponsor an individual singer or role, or donate to a central fund designed specifically for these costs. You will be invited to meet those young artists who are part of the scheme during the rehearsal period or after a performance at the theatre.
Should you wish to discuss our Grange Education Fund, please contact Rachel Pearson, Director of Development, 01962 792201