Dundee Rep Theatre

Work Experience: Erin Sturrock


My name is Erin Sturrock and I am in fifth year at Grove Academy, Dundee.

I spent one week doing Work Experience at Dundee Rep Theatre for their summer schools programme. My experience with the 8-12’s group allowed me to really see not only all the hard work that is done by the group but all the fun that can be had during this one small week too! It was a pleasure to have the opportunity to work with everyone involved.

To break the ice and enable everybody to get to know one another better, we played lots of games. These games also helped everybody to feel more comfortable around each other. Although, I must admit, learning the names of all of the children was quite a difficult task. Each child had a great imagination and seemed to really enjoy themselves.

I was very nervous when I first walked into the Rep but I was quickly put at ease by the nice and friendly children and staff but now I feel very lucky to have been given the opportunity to be involved with such an amazing programme where I even managed to connect especially with one of the children and make a ‘friend’! I love the theatre but I especially like the sound engineering and stage decoration side of things, so getting a ‘tour’ of the Rep was very interesting to me, specifically the set design area. There were so many fascinating objects and it was a very big place!

I had an amazing time at Dundee Rep Theatre and it is a great place with great people and I am very thankful for this experience.

Work Experience: Andrew Wright & Owen Blyth


Hello we are Andrew Wright (Madras College, left) and Owen Blyth (Braeview Academy, right) and welcome to our Work Experience blog!

We started our placement on Tuesday, which began with an early start watching Scottish Dance Theatre training and working on their upcoming performance. We were amazed at how far they can move. They moved so smoothly. It was fab. Next up was a Tour of the building and we began thinking about what would happen if we got lost – would we be able to find our way back to the start? In the afternoon we took a trip down to Scenic Design where we met Leila and she taught us how to make fake blood and paint limbs … which, as you can see, was very messy!


On Wednesday we spent the morning with Inform, a drama group for adults with a range of support needs. We had a brilliant time and met some interesting characters. One of them was Laurence (pictured below). We really enjoyed working with him. He was a great chap.


We spent the afternoon with Dan in Stage Management where we learned what his job consisted of. We were amazed by the amount of things which are his responsibility – it’s a lot! We also got to sit in on the Tech rehearsal for the Rep’s one-woman show, The Shape of a Girl. We found it very funny.

On Thursday we spent the morning in Wardrobe sewing labels on to costumes which wasn’t really ‘our thing’ but it was still good. We also tried on some costumes which was great fun. In the afternoon we were in with Sound and Lighting for the matinee of Woman in Mind. During the performance we were each given headsets to wear so we could hear all the cues and the banter.

On Friday we worked with Illuminate Ensemble, who were similar to the Wednesday morning group, and we had a good time again. Next we helped relay the tape on the Studio 3 floor and then we started to write this blog in Press and Marketing.

We both enjoyed this experience very much and would love to do it again and would definitely recommend it to others.



'In My Father's Words' - Kat's Blog Weeks 1 & 2

Working as the Gaelic Production Placement on “In My Father’s Words” has given me the chance to see how a play comes together at Dundee Rep Theatre. During my first week at Dundee Rep I got to see all the different parts to the building. 

The first week of rehearsals consisted mainly of reading and editing the script of “In My Father’s Words”.  I found it interesting to hear the writers Justin Young and Iain F. McLeod comment on the changes being made on the script and it was a great opportunity to see part of the dramaturgy stage of the play. I hadn’t read the script until the first week so all I really knew was that there was going to be some Gaelic in it and that it was set in Canada. The story is about a father and son who never had a good relationship. The father’s dementia reveals that he is actually Scottish and speaks Gaelic. And with the help of a carer who knows the language, the son discovers his own father’s history, which he had known nothing about. I thought the story was really moving and lovely so I was looking forward to seeing how it would be put together.

I was shown around most of the building and was able to see the set for the show “Woman In Mind” which was on at Dundee Rep during our rehearsals. I thought the set was very well designed and looked great, and learned that they even used real trees for it. They have a hovering box the actors can stand in. It was also covered in gauze so that images could be projected onto it. Later on in the week I actually went to see “Woman In Mind” (which was excellent) but it was interesting to have had a walk around the set before seeing the show and the box in use. 

(Woman In Mind Photo: Douglas Robertson)

By the second week I was doing more things related to Stage Management. I would spend some time in the Stage Management office and look for props online or look through the storage room, which was full of props.  A list of all the items needed is written up on a white board so that everyone knows exactly which prop is still needed. Apart from working in Stage Management I would also work in the Production office. I learnt a bit about what the role of a producer is and helped organise the tour of “In My Father’s Words”. The show opens at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow, and then it comes back to Dundee Rep before going on tour in the Highlands and Islands so I learnt a bit about the logistics of organising the Highlands and Islands tour.

(In My Father’s Words Whiteboard)

I would also spend some time in rehearsals and it was interesting to see the actors now on their feet and working on staging the script.

It’s been an interesting two weeks and I’ve really enjoyed getting the opportunity to work on different parts of the show so far. 

Work Experience: Lucy Pedersen & Maisie Paterson


Hello! We are Lucy Pedersen (Grove Academy, on the right) and Maisie Paterson (Carnoustie High, on the left) and welcome to our Work Experience blog!

We started on Tuesday, which began with an early start watching Scottish Dance Theatre training and working on their upcoming performance. We were amazed by how quickly they picked up what they were doing and we were really impressed. It looked so hard but they made it seem effortless – we were getting tired just watching them so we can’t imagine how they must have felt! After being amazed and in awe of the very talented dancers we were given a Tour of the building (which is like a Tardis) and introduced to everyone we would be working with. This included having a nosey in scenic design workshop and the (massive) wardrobe store. Everyone we met along the way was so friendly and welcoming.

We spent the afternoon in Creative Learning which included a short shopping trip for props and stage make-up for the upcoming performances by Illuminate and the Youth Theatre. This was great fun as we were given a £50 budget to spend as we wished (just not on our lunch!) Once we returned from our adventure we were helping Creative Learning type up some of the work by the 14-16’s Youth Theatre for their show which is on in 3 weeks.

Wednesday was off to a great start, beginning the day with Inform Theatre. It was such a lovely experience working with everyone in the group – they are such a great group of people because they all listen to each other and give constructive criticism to help improve everyone’s performance. We enjoyed taking part in the discussions and small performances created within the group. It was a great laugh as well. No one holds back!

The afternoon consisted of sewing and searching the endless number of costumes in the Wardrobe store. We were welcome to try on costumes if we wished (and we did) as long as they were put back! Sewing was fun but Maisie was a lot better (not my forte if I’m honest). We were sewing name tags in to the costumes for In My Father’s Words. We were absolutely amazed by the volume of costumes, accessories, shoes, etc, which lived in what looked like a small room but grew the more you walked about. We had fun with the acoustics as well.


Thursday morning began with a trip to Scenic Design to ‘decorate’ some limbs – hope you’re not squeamish! We were given a few recipes (which we didn’t always follow) and ingredients (a few which reeked, e.g. tomato sauce & soy sauce) to create our blood and decorate our limbs to make it look like the Plant from Little Shop of Horrors was having a banquet. The more we added, the worse it looked! What looked like a normal severed head became a head with brains bursting out, a nose bleed and a cut out tongue … but we’re sure some people are just a little clumsy! After leaving the crime scene we were learning about Sound and Lighting for Tunnels, an incredible touring production for young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities. We were lucky enough to view the show and get involved as it was an interactive performance which included a live and very talented musician, water beads, glittery sand, UV and Fairy Lights! The young people who were taking part were really nice and they absolutely loved it. The cast were very friendly and worked so well with the audience. It was such a pleasure to be included.

The afternoon was incredible. We met Owen and Lesley from Stage Management, who kindly let us shadow them during the matinee of Woman in Mind. For the first half Lucy shadowed Owen down on set and backstage whilst Maisie shadowed Lesley in the Box, and then at the interval we swapped round. Owen showed us ‘tricks of the theatre’ which included fake champagne and how dust is created using paint which was impressive. Owen also explained how he created life-like looking blood on the bottom of a bag which had to have a dead animal in it (not a real one though, obviously). We were also shown how the Stage Management team dealt with problems which occurred during the performance (for example a broken bag which ironically was meant to be broken in the play). Lesley was in charge of cues which looked like a very difficult and important job but she explained it was easy once she had written it all down with the Director so that things happened at the right time. Thursday was really busy but really enjoyable!


The Final Supper … no, just joking, but it is our last day which is a shame because it’s been such an amazing week. This morning started with the Illuminate Ensemble which is a theatre group for adults with learning difficulties and it was really good; they were all really good. We did a few performance exercises which included being given a feeling and having to apply it to an occasion. For example, our group was given ‘being in love’ which we decided to put to a restaurant scene with us as waitresses waiting on the group who were portraying couples on a date on Valentine’s Day. Lucy decided to adopt a French accent and serve people “Lovely Salmon” and “Lovely Vine” which seemed to make people laugh – it was either the way she walked or the terrible attempt at the accent!

Alas, we finish our week with our Evaluation and creating this ingenious blog with the Press and Marketing department for the world of tumblr and the people of the Internet. We have just loved our week here and want to thank everyone so much, and stay for another week if we could (hint, hint).


Thank you and goodbye!
Lucy & Maisie x

Primary Teaching Placement Blog: Week 6

This week I spent the majority of my time helping with the Onstage technical rehearsals and performances. Each school was allotted around two hours to have run-throughs of their performance and to choose lights and sounds to enhance them. These are some photos of the pupils hard at work with the Dundee Rep tech team fitting in their projections, lights and sounds. The participating schools were: St Paul’s RC Academy, Perth High, Perth Academy, Harris Academy and Mackie Academy.


The schools performed for each other as well as friends, family and some of the Youth Theatre groups who meet on a Wednesday evening and the show was a massive success. The pupils did themselves and their schools proud and everyone’s hard work paid off. It was amazing that despite the schools all being given the same theme to base their performance on – Reality – they all had very differing and unique ideas and styles of performing. 


This week I also got the chance to meet the current Rep Youth Theatre Forum and join their discussions. They talked about lots of things including: upcoming shows, their involvement within the Rep, Summer and October holiday projects, what they want to see more of within their Youth Theatre sessions and also the bulletin board that the Forum are going to take charge of in the corridor in order to inform passing people about what the different groups are up to. This gives the young people a fantastic opportunity to show their commitment and to get themselves involved in decision making on behalf of their peers.


The 16-18’s Youth Theatre were hard at work this week rehearsing for their upcoming show The Little Prince. During rehearsals they were trying out some scenes with a temporary model of the Little Prince puppet. This group has so much talent and it is obvious that their time in the Youth Theatre has shaped them in to very professional young performers who will put on a fantastic production in June which I am very excited to see.


Primary Teaching Placement Blog: Week 5

After my mid-placement chat with Heather last week I was given the chance to go to my old primary school, Craigiebarns. Lisa had been asked to run some drama workshops for a few classes because they were having a Health Week and were trying to get involved in as many physical activities that week as possible – so I joined her. We played games, improvised and had lots of fun. I got the chance to lead a few of the activities which was a great experience for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The classes were all lovely and so well behaved – a credit to the school.

This week our secondary pupils from Kingspark School joined our Inform Theatre session. It was fantastic to see the Inform actors taking the young people under their wings and helping them to participate. We had a great session and played ‘I am a tree’ where the actors are given a location – for example, a park – and they have to improvise a still image of the place. The pupils from Kingspark were getting involved with every image and seemed like they were thoroughly enjoying themselves. They also had the chance to go on a Tour around the building, exploring the Wardrobe and Workshop areas.


The 3-5’s Youth Theatre started exploring a new children’s book this week for their first session back after the holidays. There were some new members so we had circle time where the children all said their names and got to tell us about themselves. The book they are working on is called The Cow That Laid an Egg by Andy Cutbill and Russell Ayto. We read the book and talked about the characters before playing games relating to the book – for example, ‘The Farmer’s Egg’ – a version of Grandmother’s footsteps where the children have to try to steal Margery the Cow’s egg from the farmer. Making connections with the characters and the storylines of books like this helps bring it to life for the children, as well as helping to increase their vocabulary. We had lots of fun laughing about how silly it would be for a cow to lay an egg! This has given me so many ideas for early years children exploring picture books with activities and storytelling and will definitely be beneficial to my future career.


Primary Teaching Placement Blog: Week 4

This week each school from the Inspire project got the chance to come to the Rep and have a tour around the building, visiting all the departments before fitting in some rehearsal time for their upcoming performances. We showed them round the Workshops, Wardrobe, both the acting and dancing Rehearsal Rooms, the Box Office and the Stage where they will be performing. The children thoroughly enjoyed being taken round to see first-hand how a show comes together at the Rep and it was a great opportunity for them to get to grips with the backstage and stage areas they will be using during performance week.


The Onstage schools were also working on the final touches for their performances. As part of this I visited my old high school, St. Paul’s RC Academy, and was very impressed by the pupil’s teamwork and commitment to the project – despite only being in 3rd year of high school. This gave me experience of directing pupils and giving constructive feedback on their performance in order for it to run smoothly and communicate an effective message to the audience.

We decided that our secondary-age class from Kingspark School would not be ready enough for a performance on the stage as part of this project as it would put too much pressure on them. Instead, we have invited them to come along to one of the Inform Theatre sessions next week to work with the Rep’s adult actors with additional support needs in order to involve them and build their confidence. This will hopefully also give members of Inform the chance to gain experience of supporting the young people and showing the pupils what they do at the Rep.

On Wednesday I had a mid-placement catch up with Heather where we discussed my feelings on the placement so far, what things I have enjoyed doing and what I would like to be more involved in. I felt that that the school projects were most beneficial to my future career so we rearranged my schedule a little in order to make sure I was in schools and involved in these projects as much as possible.


This week the Illuminate Ensemble were working on a performance for Dream Night at Camperdown Zoo. Dream Night is an international event where Zoos from all around the world open their doors for one night for chronically ill or disabled children and their friends and family. The Company are working on a movement piece where they are playing the parts of workers/machines in a sweetie factory through which they aim to engage the children who visit the zoo, helping them to have fun and create ‘sweets’ from art and craft materials. This will be a fun-filled night for everyone involved!


Primary Teaching Placement Blog: Week 3


This week the Community Youth Theatre performed their short piece of theatre for friends and family. It was wonderful to see their hard work and team efforts paying off and to see the joy that performing brought to the children and their friends and family. There is a fantastic sense of family within this community group – despite their short time of collaboration – where the children and young people of many ages, abilities and interests, accept one another as individuals and support one another in their performing and learning.


Working with the Youth Theatre groups has given me a great deal of experience of the different stages of drama and which games and activities work best with which groups. I will take a lot from this in to my future practice as there are not as many specialist teachers as there used to be, meaning primary teachers now need to have a well-rounded experience of the different subjects across the curriculum.

I also revisited Kingspark this week for the Inspire and Onstage projects. Having not had this in my schedule in Week 2 it was wonderful to see the improvements that had been made in that time with these two classes. It is helpful for me to see the different ways in which the teachers approach drama in the classroom in order to have a fully inclusive experience for every child and young person with additional support needs. For example, the secondary group were finding it difficult to have a lot of dialogue in their performance so have been working on a movement piece that communicates the same message.

With the 3-5’s Youth Theatre this week they were given the chance to sell their ‘jumpers’ that they had previously been drawing. These activities were all based around the children’s book The Hueys in The New Jumper by Oliver Jeffers. This activity was fun and light hearted but was also giving the children a little experience of improvisation. This group is an excellent chance for young children to build confidence early on and explore stories and books further.

This week I also had a little taste of the Adult Community Company and watched them in their early rehearsals. They were improvising some scenarios from the book that they are basing their performance on and it was thoroughly entertaining – their improvisation skills were amazing! I was very impressed by what a talented and professional group they were and am thoroughly looking forward to seeing their performance.

Work Experience: Susan Myles

My name is Susan Myles, I am in 5th year at Brechin High School and I have been lucky enough to join Dundee Rep for four days of Work Experience.

It all began with a Tour of the building through all the different departments. Even after being here for four days I still don’t know my way around this maze. At the start I didn’t even know that the theatre actually spreads across five floors! It was great meeting everyone and you were always greeted with a smile.


After the tour I got to go to Stage Management, which at first wasn’t very hands on as we had to sit in on a meeting about the future production of Woman in Mind. However, this was actually quite interesting, especially because I was getting to see such an early stage of production. It was insightful to see everyone work through problems to find solutions and showed me how important it was to think practically as well as creatively at this early stage. One of the Assistant Stage Managers, Owen, then took us to the stage to take visual records of all the props that were needed in the current production of And Then There Were None. This was better because I was able to walk around the beautiful set, all in shades of grey and stylish 1930’s furniture. Owen then showed us all the little holes and hatches hidden in the stage that allowed for props to appear in the performance without the audience noticing.

In the afternoon I got the chance to sit in on Rehearsals for the upcoming production of Cars and Boys. I was quite interested to see how the actors developed their characters and how the Director’s input was recognised. It also left me wanting to go see the play when it opens just to see if they changed anything for the official performance. After that we joined Amanda, Lisa and the Community Youth Theatre at the Bonar Hall for the rehearsals and final performance of Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations. It was good seeing them rehearse and prepare for when their audience and family members came to see them perform. Just watching the rehearsals, you knew you were in for a treat watching the final performance.

On the Wednesday we joined Amanda again for Inform Theatre, which I was unsure about at first as I did not have any experience working with this kind of group before (adults with a range of different learning support needs). However, I soon changed my mind as I was given such a warm and friendly welcome. It was great fun as we got to play lots of games and drama exercises and I laughed a lot.


After lunch I was getting to go to Scenic Design, the department that I had excitedly anticipated because it is the main area I am interested in. We met Leila, who took us round the set of And Then There Were None again but with the scale model as well. I loved comparing the final set to the small model in the box. She also talked about where she sourced some of the materials and how she needed to make sure the decking was waterproofed as it rains during the show. We then got to go to the Paintshop, referred to as the messiest room in the whole building by Leila. It is also full of weird and wonderful props and bits of sets that have been collected over the years. Here we got to make fake blood for fake limbs, which was great as I could get stuck in and mix all sorts of ingredients to make a terrifying mixture of fake blood which was mainly made out of soy sauce, shower gel and food colouring! I could also paint the limbs to look zombie-like and septic. I really enjoyed getting messy and being more hands on.


On Thursday I got the chance to join Heather and the 3-5’s Youth Theatre group, which was great fun as I got to play lots of games I hadn’t played in years. I mean, I certainly didn’t think I was going to get to play ‘duck duck goose!’ anytime soon. After that I got to go to Wardrobe, where at first I was ironing the cast’s shirts for the And Then There Were None matinee, which I wouldn’t have said was too fun, but it was actually quite rewarding later watching the matinee knowing that I had ironed the costumes the actors were wearing. It made me feel part of the production almost. I was then taken to the store to sort through some odd animal costumes. It was amazing being surrounded by so many different types of clothes and costumes. Some of the animal costumes were very strange including a gorilla outfit with silver 70’s platform soul boots sewed onto the feet! I got to look through all the different dresses from different eras, including some very peculiar frocks from the 1980’s.


This busy day concluded with spending time with Sound and Lighting. I found this better than I expected as I wasn’t initially too interested in this area of production. However, I was taken around the back of the stage to look at all the different types of lights, the different gels you could put on the lenses to change the colour, and the different stencils used to create shapes in the light. I was then taken up to the Sound and Lighting desks where I was shown how all the controls worked. It looked quite complicated but I was soon assured that it was relatively easy once you knew what you were doing. I was then allowed in to the auditorium to watch the matinee of And Then There Were None. I was so pleased to finally watch the show I had been told about and had walked all over the set and backstage for. When the first half ended I was left guessing ‘who dunnit’ – I now know but I won’t spoil it. I was then taken backstage again during the interval where I got to watch the team in the workshop experiment with some of the set for a future production and I got to see all the cast passing through the corridors between acts. I spent the second half in the Sound and Lighting booth which was amazing getting to see the show from this point of view, seeing all the lighting and sound cues take place in the performance. It was also interesting seeing Lesley, the Deputy Stage Manager, doing all the calls for the audience and the actors.

My last day began with the Illuminate Ensemble, which had some members from the Inform theatre group which I was reminded of as they all started to recognise me. Similar to Wednesday, we played games and did a drama task where we were put in to pairs and one of us had be a chat show host and the other had to be a celebrity which was great fun and a good laugh. In the afternoon I spent some time with Heather to discuss my week and then I went to Press and Marketing to write this blog. I was told exactly what Press and Marketing entailed which I kind of already knew but definitely not in so much detail.

So that’s my week in a rather big nutshell. I would highly recommend this experience to anyone interested in theatre or even event organising, television and film. This week covered so many different aspects of theatre production and the Rep’s involvement in the community. It was a great use of my week and I should thank the Rep for having me!

Scenic Design & Stage Management Intern: Blog 2

The weeks are passing quickly at Dundee Rep and it sounds a cliché, but the lesson that I’m focusing on this week is that every day really is different when it comes to theatre. This has been most evident in the lead up to the opening of And Then There Were None.

For a career in theatre, you have to be prepared to take on anything. At the Dundee Rep, Stage Management takes on the role of making/sourcing all the props, which is something that a Props Department would do at a larger theatre. The skill set of Stage Management at the Rep is pretty impressive from sewing, to painting to upholstery…. It has surprised me, however, that, like student theatre, there are no hard and fast rules and improvising is sometimes the only way. One of the props required in the show is some vol au vents and to create these so that they would last for several weeks involved experimenting with any substances that might make the filling look appetising. We ended up using polyfilla, topped with some herbs!


(Guess which ones are filled with cream cheese and which ones are polyfilla?)

Some of the tasks that I have undertaken in the past couple of weeks are an indication of just how varied the job is:

  • Painting furniture
  • Filling and corking approx. 50 glass bottles with multi-coloured liquid (each bottle was required to have a precise colour of liquid inside!)

  • Hoovering the stage in preparation for the show! Glasses get smashed each show and each day the stage must be restored to its former glory.
  • Helping with workshops for school students: A big aspect of Dundee Rep is also Creative Learning. Every so often school students are invited in for an afternoon and are given workshops in the backstage elements: lighting, sound and stage management. Last week, I helped Dan (Stage Manager) during one of these workshops. Most students weren’t actually able to define what Stage Management is, which is expected, as it doesn’t necessarily come to mind when thinking about jobs in theatre! However, they all seemed keen to discover more and had a plethora of questions which mainly focused on guns and what happens when things go wrong in theatre. It’s a fantastic way to introduce theatre and possible careers to schoolchildren and I wish I’d been given such an opportunity when I was at school.

Look out for the next installment of Elizabeth’s blog…

Primary Teaching Placement Blog: Week 2


This week I experienced my first Technical Theatre Workshop with a drama class from Morgan Academy. It was a fantastic opportunity for the young people to learn and experience first-hand what goes on behind the scenes at the Rep and also the type of jobs available in theatre. The pupils got to work on the real set for the current Rep Ensemble show And Then There Were None, performing a scene from the script as well as adding their own props, lights and sound effects to the extract thanks to the team at the Rep. I could see the pupils were excited by seeing everything first-hand and getting to try it out themselves – a fantastic experience for those of them who have an interest in having a career in theatre.


On Tuesday I was with the Community Youth Theatre group who were in final rehearsals for their performance of Ernie’s Incredible Illucinations. This group was originally two separate community groups that joined up in order to work together on this particular performance. I thoroughly enjoyed being a part of their time together – it was evident that this collaboration was a fantastic experience for the young performers and it was clear that many new friendships had formed by the sense of unity and team spirit in the room.

This week the 16-18’s Youth Theatre at the Rep were auditioning for parts in their upcoming show The Little Prince. It was a wonderful chance to see the young talent that the youth theatre produces and the professionalism it encourages – giving the young adults real experience of the audition process that is involved in theatre.

On Thursday I had the opportunity to join the Creative Learning department’s meeting about the Youth Theatre Forum where the team discussed issues raised by youth theatre members. It was fantastic to see what an impact the young people have on their own experience within the youth theatre and showed what a massive voice they have in terms of what they want to get out of their time at the Rep.


This week I also had my first experience of working with the Illuminate Ensemble. This is another theatre group of adults with additional support needs. I had the opportunity to lead the group myself which was very good for my development for my future career. It has given me the chance to get to know the different needs and challenges of certain conditions which will help me to give children in my future classes the best possible learning experience despite any extra support they may need. I found the session highly rewarding as well as being beneficial to my future practice and, upon reflection, would love to work with children and young people with additional support needs largely in the future.

Work Experience: Callum Wood & Eleanor Williams

Hello! We are Callum (S6, Morgan Academy) and Eleanor (S5, Dundee High School) and we have been doing our Work Experience placement at the Rep since Tuesday of this week to gain an experience of all the roles involved in working in the theatre.

On Tuesday we were greeted by Heather Cassidy and taken on a whistle stop Tour of the building and departments. We spoke to some of the staff in these departments who we would be working with later in the week.

When we came back after lunch in the afternoon we met the Heads of Sound, Lighting and Stage management and were taken on a tour of the auditorium and some backstage areas. We then took part in a Technical Theatre workshop with visiting school Morgan Academy. The pupils were told a bit about what’s involved in tech theatre and the different roles. They then read through a script and were split into individual groups to visit the three areas – Sound, Lighting and Stage Management. In Stage Management we looked at props and parts of the set for And Then There Were None. In Lighting we got a lesson on different theatre lights and a tour of the desk and how everything works. In Sound we looked at the use of different sound effects in both film and theatre. We also looked at microphones and got to play with a reverb unit to change our voices to sound different with echo and delay, etc. The pupils then took turns at acting out a scene from And Then There Were None whilst others ran the sound, lighting and stage management aspects. This is a photo of all the skills as we put them to the test:


On Wednesday morning we were with Creative Learning who had their Inform theatre group in. Everyone we met was very welcoming and introduced themselves to us. They told us about what they had been doing in their classes. They had lots of fun playing drama games and worked alongside each other and supported each other. Improvisation games were then played which resulted in lots of laughter and they got quite tactical.

Later on that day we went up to the dance studio and watched the Scottish Dance Theatre dancers in rehearsal. The level of focus in the studio was amazing. We watched them from the side as they guided each other through the movements. We were amazed by their coordination and flexibility. They were working on elongating a dance piece that they are planning to go on tour with. After this we watched a very different type of rehearsal with the Ensemble. We went through to the Cars and Boys rehearsals and watched the actors as they read through a few scenes and then got up and blocked them following close direction from the Director, Philip Howard. It was interesting to see the actors give their own ideas about what their characters would do or say and how this was incorporated into the performance. The actors were all very friendly and chatted with us easily.

On Thursday we started at 10am with Heather’s 3-5 year olds Youth Theatre class where we met the children, helped to play games with them and we learned a bit more about what it is the younger youth theatre groups get to do. Afterwards we were in Wardrobe where we got to arrange and measure all the belts as the team are currently having a clear out of things that are no longer needed. We sorted the belts into sizes and put these in the appropriate boxes.

After lunch we were with Stage Management in the matinee of And Then There Were None. For the first half Callum was with an Assistant Stage Manager backstage, moving and resetting props, making fake champagne using burnt sugar and lemonade and also making coffee (which is used as brandy in the show). He also got to sit underneath a big part of the set while a crew member fake-stabbed one of the actors in the back with a magnetic knife as part of one of the murders. While Callum did this, Eleanor was up in the Technical Box watching Lesley (Deputy Stage Manager) cue the show. At the interval, we swapped over.


On Friday morning we were with Creative Learning again but this time it was with the Illuminate Ensemble (pictured above). This was a bigger group and some of the same people we had met on Wednesday were there. They were all very full of life and character and there were some rather interesting personalities. We began playing some introductory warm ups where we all said our names and this was because there were some new members. This helped them to feel at ease and they settled into the group very quickly. Everyone was very included and during a game of ‘’grandmothers footsteps’’ they worked really well as a team to try and win. They all seemed to have lots of fun and really enjoyed themselves. We then worked as a team to pass a ball round a circle and reached our target of getting it round in ten seconds. We then had a quick chat with Heather about our time here but not for long as sadly she had to dash to catch a train to go up to Aberdeen for some training.

After lunch we came to Press and Marketing and they told us all about the importance involved in the marketing department as it is how the plays get their audiences. They make sure that Dundee Rep has good press and good public relations, publicising what the Rep do in the Dundee community. They are vital in ticket sales – without them there would be no audiences. It was nice to hear about a part of the theatre that is maybe sometimes forgotten about.

Overall we had a fabulous time at the Rep on our placement. We got a very complete and full experience of what it is like to work in each area of a theatre and this will change our perspective on theatres and what they get up to. We met some great people and personalities here and we hope we will bump into them again.

Primary Teaching Placement Blog: Week 1


My name is Laura McAlpine and I am a second year student on the MA Education course at Dundee University. This year, instead of being in a school setting, we are on a 6 week ‘Learning from Life’ placement where we have the opportunity to explore a different work setting to broaden our knowledge of outside agencies – helping us in our future teaching practice.

I was very interested in working with the Creative Learning team at Dundee Rep as soon as I found out about it. Since I was a little girl I have had a passion for the expressive arts – one of my best and proudest moments has been performing on the Rep stage. This passion definitely comes through in my teaching practice – I love sharing these experiences with children. I am hoping to build my placement folio this year on how the arts are used to enhance education and how Dundee Rep provides exciting and enriching experiences for children and young people. I have been given many fantastic opportunities to collect evidence and experience of this with the Creative Learning team.


I will be predominantly working with the Inspire project – a Primary schools project. Inspire involves teachers becoming directors and classes working together to perform a short script, bringing creativity to the curriculum and a sense of unity for classes. In addition to this, Inspire involves a CPD element for teachers, enabling them to enhance their creativity within their practice.This week I had my first few workshops with four of the schools involved in the project this year – one of which being Kingspark. It was wonderful to see the positive impact that the project had on children with additional support needs. This particular school is not using a script but simply taking themes from one of the scripts and devising their own unique and accessible performance with lots of visuals. The children seemed to really benefit from the drama workshop – there are no right or wrong answers and enjoying yourself is top of the priorities list which is fantastic for a class with such varying and unique needs.


I will also be working with the Onstage project – a Secondary schools project. Onstage offers drama classes and groups the unique opportunity to devise their own piece of theatre using, this year, the theme of Reality. The classes are given support sessions, backstage tours and get to create their devised piece with full technical rehearsal supported by the Rep’s production team. This week I had my first two Onstage experiences with Perth Academy and Kingspark. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the pupils devise and seeing little snippets of their upcoming performances.

I am also working with the Rep’s Inform Theatre, which is a group of adults with additional support needs who are currently working on a performance that highlights the challenges of disability hate crime. My first impressions of the group are that they are a lively, happy and welcoming team that are eager to get involved and make a difference. This experience will teach me a lot about the different needs and challenges of people with additional support needs and hopefully I can bring this knowledge to my future teaching practice where I will strive to give every individual the best learning opportunities possible.


Finally, during my placement I will also be joining a mixture of Youth Theatre age groups while they prepare for performances or, for the younger children, participate in drama games and exercises relating to children’s books. These experiences will give me strategy ideas and experiences that I can bring to my future practice, using expressive arts to engage and excite the children in their learning.

Overall my first week was extremely pleasant and I was welcomed by a friendly and helpful team in the creative learning department at the Rep. Everybody I met was very positive and full of life – a refreshing workplace to enter into. I can tell that this will be a rich and exciting experience to have and take forward with me in my future career.