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Future Voices: Theatre Royal chief executive’s desire to get more young people into theatre

PUBLISHED: 09:41 27 April 2017

Stephen Crocker, the new CEO at the Norwich Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Stephen Crocker, the new CEO at the Norwich Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Copyright: Archant 2017

Future Voices student Chloe Diggines, 16, sat down with the Theatre Royal’s new chief executive Stephen Crocker.

Stephen Crocker, the CEO at the Norwich Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Stephen Crocker, the CEO at the Norwich Theatre Royal. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

What made you want to come to Norfolk and what do you want to achieve at the Theatre Royal?

I love Norwich and Norfolk. The city has that perfect mix of being modern and historic.

There is massive respect for its heritage but it is also moving forward and feels vibrant. I have a definite sense that it wants to grow, develop and be cosmopolitan.

Then to be in a city surrounded by such a beautiful county with its gorgeous beaches, stunning countryside and bustling seaside and market towns is just fantastic.

To be at the centre of all this and be part of Norwich Theatre Royal is incredible.

You have to come here to Norwich and Norfolk to appreciate all its different cultural aspects. I am an example of that and now I am here, I want to be an ambassador for the city, the county and the region.

Do you feel young people are involved with the Theatre Royal? Have you any examples of where young people have been or are involved with the theatre?

Definitely. We have run a successful theatre skills course here for over 30 years.

We have had the high profile success stories like Sam Claflin and Sam Clemmett. There are also a large number of former students who are working in the many varied aspects of the theatre industry.

It is not just about the on-stage aspects of the courses though.

It boosts team-work, increases social skills, and creates friendships that continue through life, as well as proving to be a huge confidence booster.

There are ex-students in all walks of life from teachers to doctors who say the skills they learned on the course have stayed with them.

Do you have any plans for encouraging more young people to go to, or get involved with the theatre?

We absolutely do. We have lots of work planned for the weeks, months and years ahead.

In the short term, we want to expand our training and skills programme to look at how we connect young people with real jobs in the industry.

We have had a lot of on-stage success and we now want to expand this to include the technical sides of theatre-making. We are particularly excited about our Takeover Festival in the Autumn, when young people will take over all aspects of our Stage Two building.

We also want to explore a number of different themes and issues that affect young people in our county in a number of different ways including live performances, workshops and discussions.

More information about these will emerge in the weeks ahead. I can say there are some exciting plans ahead to stage some exciting work and run some really engaging projects. Watch this space.

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