Our company of talented young people, Next Generation: Backstage, is in Stratford for two days of hands-on theatre making.

Twenty-four students are in Stratford this week to get some behind-the-scenes experience of creating theatre. They are part of our Next Generation talent development programme, which gives young people from disadvantaged backgrounds the chance to explore a career in acting, directing or working backstage. The students are recruited from our 300+ associate and partner schools throughout the UK.

A technician shows a school pupil how to control the stage lighting.
Learning how to run the lights.
Photo by Rob Freeman © RSC Browse and license our images

Each of the students has demonstrated an aptitude and interest in a specific area of backstage theatre making, from building props to stage management. They will work within their departments on a brief linked to First Encounters with Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice, our schools and touring production for 2019, with help from RSC staff and practitioners. They put their learning into practice on the second day by running a scene in performance with professional RSC actors.

A student who worked with our Props department last year said: "My week with the Props department was extremely fun, interesting and eye-opening. Everyone I worked with throughout the week was friendly and willing to help and advise when I needed it - truly the best work experience I have had!"