Playhouse welcomes new apprentice

PUBLISHED: 09:00 16 April 2015 | UPDATED: 09:20 21 April 2015

The Friends and the cast

The Friends and the cast

Archant

VOLUNTEER supporters of a Weston theatre have become the first such group in the country to fund a new apprentice for the venue.

The Friends Of Weston Playhouse is the first group of theatre support volunteers anywhere in the UK to foot the bill for a new apprentice.

The Friends group, which formed in 1991, is made up of about 450 volunteers. Over the years it has raised nearly £200,000 for The Playhouse, funding items such as a grand piano, lighting and sound equipment.

The apprenticeship will be financed by the Friends who raise funds for the High Street venue in a variety of ways such as bucket collections at the end of performances, days out and overseeing the theatre’s open day.

The newly-appointed apprentice, Victoria Gray, will earn experience in all areas of the theatre and will assist in the day-to-day running of the venue.

The apprenticeship was the idea of the theatre’s general manager Mark Thompson, who said: “It’s a fantastic opportunity for a local individual to be given the chance of a brighter future in a career that perhaps they didn’t even know existed.

“Personally, I think what the Friends have agreed to do here is not only fantastic for our venue but also a big leap for regional theatre and the arts as a whole.”

Mr Thompson said he hopes this will encourage other Friends to introduce young people to a career in the arts.

He said: “Victoria embodies everything the national apprenticeship system was set up to do – she is extremely passionate about the arts but limited opportunity has not allowed her to achieve her ambitions.

“My thanks go to all of the Friends for providing this fantastic opportunity for Victoria and for the continued support and efforts in bettering our town’s home of live entertainment.”

The theatre has partnered with Weston College so Victoria can also gain a qualification in business administration.

Victoria, who has a BTEC extended national diploma in production arts, will take up her role later this month.

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