Tabi is a final year BA (Hons) Stage Management student and has recently completed her industry placement at mac birmingham and also at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon. We spoke to Tabi to ask her what she learnt from her time on placement and how she thinks it will help her in the future.
My name is Tabi and I am currently in my 3rd and final year of my BA (Hons) Stage Management Degree at BSA. This year has been a whirlwind for me, as I have spent most of it on a multitude of work placements as part of my industry research module. It has given me the opportunity to put into practice the stage management skills I have learnt at Uni. Having this additional year has allowed me to develop my own style and techniques. I feel it’s only fair to say that I am a hard worker with a tenacious appetite.
Can you tell us a little about your industry placements. I hear you’ve done quite a few!
When I was Stage Manager on my own Birmingham School of Acting production, I found that the director (Hal Chambers) and I clicked. My show had barely come down when I received an email from him about a project in Reading. At very short notice I managed to get my first work placement working as an Assistant Stage Manager with “Reading Between the Lines” working on “Henry the 1st of England.” I did all I could to make this happen! Working on “Henry 1st” was a marvellous experience and I made lots of great contacts.
Whilst working on “Henry 1st”, I was recommended by Hal as a Deputy Stage Manager to work on a “Pins and Needles Production” of “The Bear” at mac birmingham, which would then go on to do a national tour. On this show I gained professional practical experience working on the project from the first day of rehearsal through to ‘Calling’ the mac’s most successful Christmas box -office show. “The Bear” was nominated for a What’s On 2017 Award and it was a real ‘in at the deep’ end experience…I ended up taking on more responsibility than I initially thought! This was highlighted when I ended up actually going on stage to perform as the lead, when the main actress got sick. I am not a performer and have no desire to be one, however It was a real case of ‘The show must go on!’
I am now currently on my third and final work placement, working with the Royal Shakespeare Company stage management department. This is a placement I got on my own, through hard work and perseverance. I tracked the RSC website all year, waiting to apply and when the opportunity for the placement came up, I jumped at the chance. I was interviewed by a panel of RSC Staff, including Michael Dembowicz (one of the RSC’s Company Managers) and the Stage Manager for the production Pip Horobin, both of whom I am currently working with on my placement. During my interview, they asked me lots of questions about the Birmingham School of Acting BA (Hons) Stage Management course. I explained how BSA was run and what roles and responsibilities I had faced in my time there. I am now working on a new play called “Vice Versa”, written by Phil Porter, which opens in Stratford-upon-Avon in May.
What have your placements and being at BSA taught you?
Being at BSA has taught me a great deal, and I don’t just mean how to live away from home. The tutors have been very supportive and I have made some truly brilliant friends. I feel I have grown as a person and this has given me the confidence to aim high and to follow my own initiative, which in turn has opened my eyes to great work placement opportunities. I am really pleased that I chose BSA to study BA (Hons) Stage Management. It’s a great place and it’s set me on the right career path.
Has it been hard work and how do you think it will help with your future career?
We are currently rehearsing in London, I live about 90 minutes away and travel in every day. I had to save up all year to be able to afford basic transport. However, I feel that it is totally worth it as I get the chance to assist the whole Stage Management Department Team, all of whom are very welcoming. The environment is incredibly inspiring with a broad range of creatives and has given me the chance to make great contacts. I feel that it is a fantastic experience and a real privilege to be here, I would love to professionally work for the Royal Shakespeare Company once I graduate.