West Cheshire College and Storyhouse, the award-winning production company who will run Chester’s brand new £37m cultural centre are excited to announce that they have launched a unique partnership aimed at providing invaluable career progression opportunities for young people in Cheshire West and Chester.
The exciting educational partnership will focus on providing mentored volunteering, supported internships, and apprenticeship opportunities at Storyhouse for students of the Further Education College, offering them real-life experience of working within a cultural centre and for an arts producer.
They will be able to develop both industry-specific and transferable job skills that enable them to launch their career in their chosen sector.
It also looks to offer reciprocal development opportunities and trainee provisions within West Cheshire College for Storyhouse employees.
The partnership has been developing over the past six months and most recently saw a group of the college’s students working and volunteering for Storyhouse at the Chester Literature Festival as technicians and stage managers.
Over the summer, the college’s students helped deliver Storyhouse’s open air cinema season, Moonlight Flicks, as technicians and event managers, performed in the moving nation-wide memorial event We Are Here for Storyhouse, and participated in the Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre Young Company.
On the new partnership programme leader for technical theatre and events at West Cheshire College Angie Berwick said: “We are so excited to be partnering with Storyhouse, as we believe that it will create inspirational and unique enrichment activities for our young adult learners, across a number of disciplines from performing arts and technical theatre through to catering, marketing and public services. There really isn’t a limit to where we can take this, which is fantastically exciting.
“The partnership is truly unique and also brings additional benefits, such as access to Storyhouse when it opens next year, including the use of its state of the art theatres, boutique cinema, library, and studio theatre, something we know will really excite and enthuse our students.”
Performing arts and technical theatre student mJordan Barnes, 21, from Chester, who worked this year as technician for Storyhouse on Moonlight Flicks open air cinema and the Chester Literature Festival said: “I’ve worked with Storyhouse for a number of years now, so I was delighted when I was asked to recruit a team of technical theatre students from the college to help put on Moonlight Flicks. Working under a Storyhouse project manager, myself and the team helped to deliver the ten-week programme, which saw numerous film screenings at sites both in Chester and throughout the region. Being entrusted by Storyhouse to put on the events was a real privilege and one that I really enjoyed.”
Artistic director at Storyhouse, Alex Clifton, said: “Until now a number of West Cheshire College students, have successfully applied to volunteer, train and/or work with us as film programmers, stage managers, technicians and performers. They have been a fantastic addition to our teams.
“At the heart of Storyhouse’s vision is encouraging young people’s access and engagement in arts and culture as creators, performers, programmers, designers, technicians and producers as well as audience members. We are therefore delighted, through this partnership, to be able to offer a larger number of West Cheshire College students a more structured route to training and working with us in situ across our festivals and in at Chester’s new cultural centre. We are committed to offering mentoring and support career progression of those young people who volunteer, train and work with us.”
Alex continued: “We are passionate about providing work experience for young people who are enthusiastic, committed and show potential, including students with learning disabilities through the supported internship programme.”
For more information about studying performing arts and technical theatre at West Cheshire College, visit west-cheshire.ac.uk or call the college hotline on 01244 656555.