Over the last year, despite the enormous difficulties faced by the sector, we have found joy in being able to maintain our relationship with the Faculty of Creative Industries at University of South Wales. Through online platforms, Sherman Theatre has continued to support the development of artists and theatre makers and it has been inspiring to witness the students’ ability to adapt and channel their creative energy.
Our relationship with the University is a key part of our work and allows us to contribute to the cultural ecosystem of the creative industry, supporting the training infrastructures that lead to new voices and the development of talented individuals.
Over the last three years, Sherman Theatre’s Creative Engagement department has worked closely with university staff and students, contributing guest lectures for the Drama and Performance courses, providing professional development placements at the Sherman and supporting the attendance of students at the National Theatre Connections Festival hosted by the theatre.
University of South Wales’ place as a leading provider of creative training was recently recognised by the Guardian’s 2020 league tables, ranking top in Wales for graduate prospects in drama. Over the years, several alumni have become closely involved in our work including theatre makers Elgan Rhys and Gethin Evans, who together formed our inaugural company in residence Cwmni Pluen and wrote and directed respectively our hit world premiere Woof. Gethin also held the post of our Associate Director and is now Artistic Director of Frân Wen. Other alumni who have worked with Sherman Theatre include two of our current Creative Engagement Teaching Artists Elena Carys Thomas and Ashley Cummings among many others.
Over the past year we have continued to welcome students to undertake placements with us on the digital and audio work we have produced, and we are grateful for their commitment and invaluable support on the Heart of Cardiff season in particular.
As a producing company in Wales, we believe it is crucial to ensure there is work for Welsh artists who wish to develop their professional practice within Wales, and to that end we look forward to many more years of collaboration with University of South Wales.
Dr Márta Minier, Associate Professor of Theatre and Media Drama, has often appeared as part of post-show discussion panels at the theatre and has continued to be actively involved in nurturing the partnership. Commenting on the partnership between organisations, Dr Minier said We value our relationship with the Sherman Theatre enormously. From guest sessions for undergrads and postgrads to work placements for graduands, to live briefs for MA students, the many ways in which the Sherman is present in our degree courses hugely enrich our students’ learning and their awareness of the sector. As we are a university with a strong civic mission, it is especially pleasing that our students from different year-groups have had the opportunity to contribute to the work of the creative engagement department of the Sherman in the autumn and Christmas seasons. Our students working on our autumn audio drama festival also appreciated learning from the creative team behind the Heart of Cardiff season.
Sherman Theatre’s Creative Engagement Manager Timothy Howe has said Sherman Theatre is incredibly proud of the relationship that we have with USW. The work we share on our stages, and in our creative engagement programme has allowed us to develop opportunities for both graduates and those still studying to nurture their artistic voices. Across the past twelve months students have taken placements that have supported the creation of activities relating to our Heart of Cardiff season, as well as running online workshops for young people, and engaging with our youth theatre. It is our hope that by providing these opportunities for artists in training that the future of the sector benefits from the in-house experience and knowledge that the Sherman team has. As our partnership with USW strengthens year on year, Sherman remains committed to ensuring that talent trained in Wales has as many opportunities as possible to grow and develop here.