Five minutes with Rob Young Head of Production & Technical training
We chatted to Rob Young (Head of Production and Technical Training) over a zoom cup of tea to gain insight about his experiences of Diploma Days past and present, and how students and staff have adapted during COVID.
Tell us about Diploma Day – what were your highlights
Rob Spirits were high, the audience was very attentive and supportive. I think it was a great relief for everyone to have got there, and to have finished their training. Because of Covid, it was a much smaller event than usual. We had to do all the year groups separately and the audience were all socially distanced.
How many Diploma Days have you attended at LAMDA? (Including your own!) How are they different to when you graduated?
Rob I have attended 16 as a tutor and one as a student! They have been much more subdued the last couple of years because of Covid. Usually, the graduating students perform a show which was a big feature because it gave everyone the opportunity of seeing the actors give their final performance, and usually involved a lot of tears at the end of it! With Covid, we missed having the other students in the same room together celebrating. Next year will be different as it’s the first year of LAMDA Degrees – so watch out for gowns and mortar boards.
The new skills students have learnt to support livestreaming such as camera work and vision mixing is a real positive. I’m looking forward to that continuing – it's an excellent way to get the work out there.
How have the PTASS staff and students adapted to the challenges of working, teaching and learning under COVID restrictions?
Rob Everyone adapted pretty well. It was challenging to deliver practical training in project form when everyone was off-site. Once we got the students back into the building, we did a lot of catch up! It was a dark time for everybody, trying to train these students for careers in the industry and not being able to fully deliver the practical skills. They rose to the challenge and I feel they were well supported. Once we got back into the building, we produced shows all through the Summer – it was mad, exhausting, but we got through it. The time pressure has been immense on the students.
One positive aspect has been the new skills students have learnt to support livestreaming such as camera work and vision mixing. I’m looking forward to that continuing – it's an excellent way to get the work out there.
This innovation in accessible technology wouldn’t have been possible without generous support from The Overstall Charitable Trust whose support has provided computers for students at home and Manny and Brigitta Davidson, whose support enabled the essential live-streams.
Everything takes longer when you’re having to social distance in workshop, rigging, and of course lots of cleaning of kit. But it is good preparation for the industry for the students to be comfortable working within those restrictions. They are ready to go – they just need to go out there and do the job.
If you could give one piece of advice to graduating students, what would it be?
Rob Be positive. Remember, work will come at the right time and remember you are only as good as your last job. You must deliver every time or you won’t be asked back. And enjoy it! Support each other – you've become part of the LAMDA community