Cultural Connections Case Study: Callum Mardy
18 Years Old
Stage 1: Identification
Callum was referred to the programme by Ken Reid, the Head of Creative arts at Leeds City College. He has just recently completed his first year at college in performing arts and is looking for any opportunities that will help him progress in the performing arts industry.
Stage 2: Interview
During the interview, Callum talked about the barriers that he faced in school as he was unable to pick drama for his GCSE’s due to the lack of accessibility. Callum attended two different schools and neither were able to provide accessibility to drama studios. Nonetheless, Callum still pursued his passion and took up performing arts at a college level and also got involved with showcases at First Floor and the West Yorkshire Playhouse. Callum would like to overcome physical barriers by learning more about performing in and out of his wheelchair.
At the end of the programme Callum would like to have made some connections in the performing arts industry as well as have a better understanding of his options after college. He would also like to get involved in projects or find a work experience opportunity alongside his college work.
Stage 3: Making the connection
An email was circulated to the Leeds Grand Futures Network to help find an opportunity to connect Callum with an arts professional. Lisa Mallaghan from Mind the Gap Theatre Company offered to talk to Callum for an hour as well as provide free tickets to watch a rehearsal and an end of year showcase in Bradford.
Amy Leach from the West Yorkshire Playhouse also got back to us and was very keen on finding an opportunity for Callum to meet a young actor as well as potentially provide work experience. Amy has already worked with Callum on the Romeo and Juliet performance that Callum was an extra in.
Stage 4: Meetings
Mind the Gap
Callum had prepared some questions for Lisa, the senior producer at Mind the Gap Theatre Company in Bradford. Callum tailored his question to find out more about the working style, work commitments and values of the performing arts industry. Lisa gave some advice on how to become a professional actor and her main tip was to start by making connections like these and to network with theatre companies to make himself known. Callum was also given a tour of the theatre and was introduced to the staff. After the meeting, we watched an end of year show case and met the staff that helped orchestrate the show.
West Yorkshire Playhouse
Amy Leach, an associate director at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, offered an incredible placement opportunity to Callum as a Trainee Assistant Director. This position was created for someone from an underrepresented background and targeted specifically at young people. It will provide Callum with an insight into directing, scriptwriting and acting.
Callum will be working with Artistic Director James Brining on the contemporary adaptation of Ibsen’s The Master Builder for the Courtyard theatre. The lead role will be played by Associate Artist Reece Dinsdale. Reece was born and brought up in Leeds, and after moving away has moved back to Yorkshire and is keen to do as much as he can to give back to the next generation and therefore, would be happy to mentor Callum. Callum would be in the rehearsal room primarily to observe and witness the day to day of a professional rehearsal room as well as watch an actor like Reece prepare for a major classical role.
The placement will run from the 21st August till 14th October 2017, Monday-Friday 10:00-6pm, with the occasional evening work and Saturdays. Bearing in mind Callum’s college commitments, the West Yorkshire Playhouse are very flexible on making this opportunity work around Callum’s availability. Once Ken Reid at Leeds City College was informed about this opportunity, he was very supportive and was happy to tailor one of Callum’s college assignments based on this placement and free up his college timetable to work around this opportunity.
Amy also arranged a meeting with Dan Parr who is an actor in Road at the Royal Court of London, as well as provide a tour of the court. Leeds City College were happy to pay for Callum’s expenses for this opportunity.
Stage 5: Follow up
The Master Builder
Keep a logbook during this work opportunity and network with as many people as possible.
Start looking into Drama schools and prepare for auditions – utilise the staff at the WYP to prepare.
Carry on working on script writing and novels in spare time.