I have always loved arts and science and was very disappointed to discover that it is almost impossible to continue studying both at University level. I escaped to Scotland where they let me continue doing maths ‘on the side’ for the first couple of years of my English degree.
I decided to become an accountant because I love numbers and wanted to run a theatre one day and thought I should know something about how money works. Whilst working as an accountant I discovered I was actually a socialist – one day a rich person was asking me how to reduce their tax bill which was higher than my annual salary and I realised I had quite strong objections to not paying tax, and that this view was not compatible with accountancy. However I specialized in charity accountancy and auditing which has been invaluable knowledge whilst working in small arts companies ever since.
I had no real idea how to go about getting into the arts – I had no idea there was such a thing as arts admin, or that you could do a post grad degree in it. Knowing what options were available to me after I graduated and how to gain experience would have been so useful.
I have been lucky to be in the position in the past few years to help new theatre companies get off the ground by commissioning new work or by becoming a trustee. My job now involves getting authors and poets out to do events for people who wouldn’t necessarily have the opportunity to be involved in the arts without our help. A side effect is that I get to meet and work with incredibly exciting and interesting people and I really love going to work every day (well perhaps not every day). Volunteering for Arts Emergency seems the obvious thing to do to continue supporting new and emerging artists and arts professionals and I am very much looking forward to being involved!