Jordan takes centre stage11 September 2012 | news archive
A TALENTED teenager will be working behind the scenes of spectacular dramatic and musical performances at a prestigious Northern arts venue when he embarks on an apprenticeship.
Jordan Smith beat competition from across the country to become a Creative and Cultural Apprentice at the Howard Assembly Room at Opera North, Leeds after being the pioneering student for the new technical theatre programme at Leeds City College.
The 18-year-old said: “I am very excited and privileged to be given the opportunity to work with professionals, and develop my skills within such a well-established environment.”
Jordan, who has been acting since he was four and has appeared in more than 20 shows, joined the college as a performer on the Performing Arts (Musical Theatre) programme aged 16. But as he progressed through the course, he realised his real passion was for backstage and technical work.
After speaking to his tutors Michelle Ruse and Richard Lee, he decided to try and incorporate modules from the Technical Theatre programme into his studies. He said: “This worked amazingly from my point of view.”
On Technical Theatre, students learn about the entire range of roles backstage in the theatre industry before going on to university, apprenticeships and the industry.
A further 20 students at the college are hoping to follow in Jordan’s footsteps and complete the programme over the next year.
Jordan added: “While it was hard work, I still managed to pass my Musical Theatre course with high grades.
“Michelle and Richard made sure I didn’t give up, and were great with the advice they offered. I have to say that I truly respect the staff, and what they do for the students.”
At the end of the course, Jordan was keen to continue his training in this field. Richard said: “Jordan knew university wasn’t for him but he was keen to continue his development as a theatre technician. “
Jordan applied online for the apprenticeship on offer at the Howard Assembly Room after hearing about the course through Richard and the college’s Head of Creative Arts, Ken Reid.
After attending a panel interview for the apprenticeship and completing two 30-minute written and practical assessments, he was offered the role.
Last year Opera North and Leeds Grand Theatre were among the first employers to take on a full-time Creative and Cultural apprentice in partnership with Leeds City College.
Now in its second year, the apprenticeship offers training in a working performance space, the Howard Assembly Room, programmed by Opera North, with the aim of helping students become adept at various technical skills from lighting to sound under the guidance of senior technical staff.
Jordan will be trained in lighting for music, theatre and corporate events; setting up and operating live sound reinforcement systems; basic rigging and basic set up and operation of AV systems.
Richard said: “The Howard Assembly Room Technical Apprentice is a perfect opportunity for him. Jordan will be supported by the Leeds City College Creative Apprenticeship team and will work as part of the professional full time staff at the Howard Assembly Room.”
Jordan said: “I am most looking forward to learning new skills as well as developing existing skills. I will be able to learn and develop new techniques, and be part of a professional team. I am looking forward to meeting lots of new people with similar interests, and hoping to have some fun, doing something I enjoy.
“In the future, I would love to continue working within technical theatre. I would love to build my knowledge and experience portfolio engaging in professional shows and events. I would like to express my gratitude for Leeds City College and the tutors for their continued support, and also to Opera North and Howard Assembly Room for the opportunity they have provided. I hope to make them all proud.”