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What a talented bunch!

Recently our Playmakers team spoke to young people about how they could get into the arts industry professionally by volunteering or working part time for an arts organisation where they could meet people who would give them advice and maybe even future opportunities – and we ourselves had three team members who did just that!

Jemma James, Jessica Shaw Thomas and Dorottya Hangyal were part of our friendly Theatre Royal Winchester Front of House Team while studying Musical Theatre and BA Acting at the University of Winchester. In May (2023) they performed in their class’ productions of Godspell and Stef Smith’s Nora: A Doll’s House at the theatre.

While their collective dream is to perform professionally, they have described working at the theatre in non-acting roles as being invaluable and ‘an amazing opportunity’.

Jemma said: ‘Working during Panto was a great experience. I got to meet and chat to the cast and crew who had useful and helpful advice surrounding performing and I was really grateful. I hope to use the experience to assist me in the industry I’ve dreamed of since I was a little girl.’

While Dorottya added: ‘Working behind the bar in a creative venue makes you feel like you are in the right place – your colleagues are like-minded people who you can connect with. The support you get is something I will also cherish. Some came to see Nora and feeling supported and seen can be a huge help in this industry full of rejection and difficulties.’

Talking about wishing to move to London to act, she said: ‘I am positive the experience and confidence I gained at the theatre will help me get a job at a creative venue while I audition.’

Finally, we want to say congratulations to Dorottya for recently winning the University of Winchester 2023 Winton Society Award for Academic Excellence (Education & Arts).

"I’ve met lots of people with crucial roles and seeing what they do has helped me understand that theatre isn’t just about the performer, but everyone coming together to make this industry successful."

Jemma James