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This week saw the start of a 10-week technical theatre training programme for 16-year-old Nathan Ffinch-Shah at London’s National Theatre

The Hackney teenager joined London South East Colleges' Production Arts Level 3 Diploma course straight from school in September and has already landed himself a much sought-after place on a programme attracting over 300 applicants from all across the UK.

The ‘National Theatre Young Technicians’ is a free programme offering an exciting opportunity for young people to develop their skills and learn about a variety of backstage and offstage roles with some of the country’s top theatre industry professionals. It runs each Wednesday evening from 5 pm until 8 pm and will enable the students to pick-up a wide range of on-the-job skills in lighting, sound, video, automation and set design/construction. As the programme proceeds, each student will be assigned to a specialist area to shadow the theatre’s technical staff and work on actual productions.

Nathan has had a desire to work in the theatre for a number of years and couldn’t wait to leave school and get started at the College. “I wanted to get out of the classroom and start being hands-on,” he says, “I know I’ll learn quickly and acquire the knowledge needed to get a job doing something I love.”

So far, Nathan has attended just one session and is already smitten by the experience. He continues: “I loved my first night. We were taken on a full backstage tour. We were shown the lighting rigs, the props department, the stage set workshops, and sound studios. Afterward, we got a full induction and made aware of their health and safety policies and requirements. It’s all very exciting.”

Nathan’s tutor at the College, Ian Shillito, is very impressed by how Nathan has hit the ground running since showing up for his first lesson. He says: “This is indeed something very special and an amazing opportunity for Nathan. He is very enthusiastic and has given his fellow classmates some brilliant feedback on what he has learned so far. I know this will give his career and his chances of being successful on-course a massive boost.”

After completing his course at the College, Nathan would like to progress to an advanced apprenticeship and perhaps study for a degree before entering the industry full-time.


If you think you have what it takes to become a professional actor, dancer, set designer or make-up artist and would like to build a successful career in the theatre or film and TV industries, we’d like to hear from you. We have a great range of courses to get you started. Come along to one of our Open Events


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