I’m Vedi Roy one of the Three-Month Placement Assistant Directors who did his placement at the Watford Palace Theatre (WPT) in January to March 2019.
I’d been searching for an opportunity like this for a few years, but hadn’t had the confidence to manifest that search into something more real i.e. I had always watched from afar, but never felt like I could be part of the team.
Thanks to WPT and RTYDS, the nervous and dejected voice in my head was quietened a little with the gaining of this placement. I fell to my knees in the middle of a dressing room and screamed when I got the “you’ve got the job” email haha!
Over the three months, I not only learnt about the process of directing, I learnt about the intricate process of running a theatre company.
Watford Palace Theatre and their associate companies (namely Rifco Theatre Company and tiata fahodzi) allowed me to shadow their staff in every department. I learnt everything from finance protocol to the day-to-day running of a theatre. Sounds dull, I know, but believe it or not, each part of the theatre from bar sales to participation initiatives, has a great impact on the show that you might be running in the auditorium. The weekly producing meetings involved all departments and each department had something very relevant to say which sometimes affected what we did in the rehearsal room, something I was entirely oblivious to before this process!
Ellen Waghorn (Producer) and Samantha Ford (General Manager) were instrumental in my learning process, constantly and consistently giving me time and space to ask questions about the process of a show, from fruition to completion. I found that my relationship with these two fantastic humans was vitally important to the smooth running of my placement – take note folks.
Aside from the enriching shadowing experience, assistant directing on Absurd Person Singular was enlightening, particularly the technical rehearsal process.
A bit of background – before the placement I had been working as an actor/dancer/choreographer on a freelance basis, so my understanding of a rehearsal room, the etiquette and what was required of me in said rehearsal room (both as a creative and as a performer) was clear to me.
When it came to tech week, I had no idea what I was doing and Brigid Larmour (Artistic Director of WPT) along with the wider creative team took me under their collective wing and truly showed me the ropes. Although the technical requirements (from a creative perspective) on this show were minimal, the Lighting Designer Jamie Platt took it upon himself to give me a deeper understanding of lighting, the terminology and what he might expect a Director to know/have prepared. Likewise, Amy Cook (Designer) and Richmond Rudd (Sound Technician) took care and precision to explain their jobs and the knowledge a Director might have to ensure a productive creative process.
As an actor, I have worked with the aforementioned Rifco Theatre Company. Their Artistic Director, Pravesh Kumar, advised me “this placement is what you make of it.” And he was right! I made a commitment from my first day on placement – “I want to learn everything” – and in so many ways I did. With the help of the WPT staff and their associates I was able to involve myself intrinsically into the life of Absurd Person Singular and the theatre building in general.
On this placement I was able to assist direction, create a movement sequence, run my own workshops with the LGBTQ+ youth of Watford, learn from dozens of staff members and become a better creative within this tumultuous world of the arts. All because of my willingness to be open, creative and vulnerable. This placement is a much about you as it is about the show.
To those who are about to embark upon this fantastic placement, be bold, be daring and get whatever you need from it. Come in with an inquisitive mind and be willing to take on tasks that you had never thought of doing before.
Be open and be vulnerable.
Your theatre and the team at RTYDS are always there every step of the way to help.
Best of luck xx