The theatre producer and education manager at Old Vic New Voices wishes someone had told her younger self about networking, fronting it out and how bar work can sometimes lead to your dream job…
What is your name/age/job title?
Bryony Roberts, 33, Old Vic New Voices education manager and producer of Pin the Tale Theatre Company
What one thing do you wish you had known at the start of your career that you know now?
How to network! I’ve always been friendly and chatty person but I never knew how to approach people. I was given some good advice; just walk up to them, shake their hand and say hello. More often than not, people are very happy to have a little chat with you.
Important note - be ready to leave when the time is right! Useful phrases to extricate yourself... “Lovely to meet you but I’ve just seen [insert name here] and must say hello”; “Great to talk with you but I’m monopolising your time. Enjoy your evening/afternoon/the show”; “I think I’m needed [gesture in a particular direction] but so wonderful to meet with you”.
If you could go back and give your younger self any practical advice, what would it be?
I know that despite all your outer confidence, you really feel quite intimidated and lack self-belief but the more you front it out, the more you will actually feel confident on the inside. You will make mistakes but you’ll be the better for them.
Stop just saying “Regret the things you haven’t done, not the things you have” and really believe it.
If someone had told your 16-year-old self that you would be a making a living in theatre in your twenties, would have believed them? Or did you have other ambitions?
Despite always loving the theatre and secretly wanting to be an actor, I thought (up until I was 16) that I was going to be a lawyer.
But then I had a talk with the Careers Advisor who pointed me in the direction of Stratford College, Warwickshire, and my world changed. I couldn’t believe there was a place where I could spend two whole years studying the thing that I was most passionate about. In the real world! A-maz-ing!
Is there an embarrassing episode from your past that you wish you could edit out?
Not that I recall but I do have a selective memory...
Is there a project of which you are particularly proud?
I’m massively proud to be part of Pin the Tale Theatre Company who are doing wonderful work. It’s my first producing gig but it’s going great and it’s awesome to be working with such talented ladies.
What would you consider your ‘big break’? And how did you get it?
Every step of the way has been a break to be honest. But I suppose getting a bar job at The Old Vic Theatre is, ironically, my most fruitful move.
Through that I began facilitating for Old Vic New Voices and that’s led to where I am now, managing several large education programmes and working with a really excellent team whom I learn from every day.
To find out more about Pin the Tale visit their website, follow them on Twitter or visit their Facebook page.
To get free tickets to the OVNV US/UK Exchange showcase of Empire State of Mind visit our offers page.
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