My academic background should make me a fully paid-up member of the original old boy network; but in the production world that doesn’t really count for much, and while I wouldn’t say it’s ever harmed my chances of getting a job, it’s your own experience and reputation that does the work.
I’ve had an amazing time working as stage management across a lot of scales and genres, and had a huge amount of job-satisfaction over the years. There’s a very high attrition rate for stage management, with a lot of people leaving the industry when they want to have a family – or at least moving to an area with more normal working hours! So there’s a need for lots of new blood, and I’d like to be part of that.
It’s also still possible to learn on the job, and even now I find myself facing new challenges every time I take on a new job – so having a support network of people you can turn to for advice and contacts is really important. That’s not easy when you’re just starting out, especially if you haven’t been through the drama-school route, as I found out while working on the fringe; and I’d like to be in a position to advise and encourage people who’re facing the same sort of difficulties.
If I had to admit to a selfish motivation for wanting to be a mentor, it’s that I’d like to end up teaching stage management, and the experience of mentoring young people is a very good preparation for that.