Three young trainees are developing their creative skills through a Youth Arts Bursary scheme in Perth Theatre.

Thanks to Perth Theatre’s successful application to the Creative Scotland Youth Arts Fund: Bursary Programme, Erin Bates, Skye Beautyman and Genna Allan are gaining hands-on experience working in Scenic Art, Wardrobe and Learning and Engagement respectively.

Delivered through the COVID-19 Emergency Funding from Scottish Government, the Youth Arts Fund: Bursary Programme was developed by Creative Scotland to provide funding to organisations to host up to 5 bursaries for early-career artists and creative practitioners aged between 18 and 24, who have a lack of accessible support to develop their creative careers, to create new or develop existing work. Perth Theatre was awarded £29,980 from the fund on 22 October 2021 to offer its own Youth Arts Bursary programme.

As a host organisation, Perth Theatre is supporting the young people to build contacts, create and present ambitious work, build experience, identify ongoing opportunities and plan for next steps beyond the bursary. Each trainee has a dedicated mentor who is responsible for ensuring they get the most out of the 6-month placement.

Lu Kemp, Artistic Director for Perth Theatre said:

“Having the Youth Arts Bursary trainees in the building continues our commitment to broadening our team and sharing our craft. As a theatre, we are learning a huge amount from the trainees ideas and input, and they are learning new skills working alongside our brilliant teams and freelancers. It’s a perfect exchange of skills and energy.”

Erin Bates (19) who went to Pitlochry High School and Breadalbane Academy and has been working as a scenic artist on shows including Oh When The Saints, Don Quixote and Jack and the Beanstalk said:

“I applied for the bursary after finishing school, to get more experience before I potentially go off to uni as I didn’t know what course or career I should choose. I enjoy art and design. So far I’m really enjoying the bursary and I wish there were more opportunities like this available for school leavers to provide more hands on experience.”

Skye Beautyman (19) who went to Dunoon Grammar School and is working with the Perth Theatre Wardrobe team to create costumes across a range of shows said:

“I applied for this because I am going to study costume design and construction next year but wanted to gain some more hands-on experience inside a theatre, and this has been the perfect opportunity. Everyone has been so inviting and generous in sharing their knowledge and even though I've only been here for a couple months, I really feel at home in the theatre. I've now had experience of every part of a production, from start to finish, and having that amazing feeling of seeing pieces on the big stage that you have helped with.”

Genna Allan (23) who studied for a BA Hons in Acting with Creative Enterprise from New College Lanarkshire in collaboration with Queen Margaret University has worked with the Learning and Engagement Department as Assistant Director on the Perth Youth Theatre mainstage show and leading PYT classes as well as working with ESOL classes and helping at schools workshops. She said:

“I have really enjoyed my time as a youth arts bursary with the Learning & Engagement team, without the bursary I wouldn’t have been given all of the opportunities I have been able to do”.

All three have contributed to the spectacular success of this year’s Perth Theatre panto Jack and the Beanstalk with Erin playing her part in set painting, Skye creating some stunning costumes and Genna working to support the community cast both on and off stage.

Sarah Mcadam, Youth Arts Manager for Creative Scotland said:

“The pandemic has had a real impact on opportunities for young people to build the skills, knowledge, and professional networks to develop careers in the cultural sector. The Youth Arts Fund: Bursary Programme was designed to address this, supporting organisations to provide tailored opportunities to young people looking to progress and address specific skills gaps. Thanks to Perth Theatre, Erin, Skye and Genna will gain hands-on experience working in different roles within the theatre sector”.

Monday 12 December 2022