For many years the Torch Theatre in Milford Haven has provided work experience and placements for current students in the Set Design and Production department of University of Wales Trinity St David.

These then turn in to employability opportunities for graduates.

George White has been employed at the Torch as a set builder and technician. He was firstly out on tour working on their recent production ‘Carwyn’ and now returned to the theatre to start working on their upcoming panto ‘Beauty and the Beast’. He said:

“The encouragement to apply for the job at the Torch came through my lecturer, Dave Atkinson. He inspired me to chase my ambition to work across two fields of specialism (set building and lighting) and through his guidance I gained the correct experience to have the confidence to step straight into work.”

Beth Elsbury was offered the role of an assistant stage manager at the theatre at the end of her final year as a student at UWTSD whilst touring there with her final year production. She added:

“It’s been a great experience working with The Torch Theatre so far. It’s great to be able to put what I’ve learnt into practice whilst learning more along the way on a project of this scale. I’m proud to be a part of such a great production where I’ve met so many talented and welcoming people and am really looking forward to getting started on the Panto season.”

Rebecca Evans is also working at the theatre as an assistant stage manager, and is grateful for the support she had from her lecturers.

“Thanks to my lecturers Dave and Stacey, I got the experience to not only study within the industry but work in it also. These industry connections and placements enabled me to be ready to start my first job after graduating, working at the Torch Theatre. The team has been very welcoming, and I am already looking forward to working on the upcoming panto season. However, I couldn’t have done it without my peers and lecturers. The opportunities of work experience presented through all our years of study has been a big help.”

When Laurie Peric was at the start of her third year at UWTSD she gratefully accepted the invitation to take a work placement at the Torch Theatre as a scenic artist. Coming from a trade background as a mature student and upskilling into theatre she felt it was important to build on her strengths. She said:

“All I can say what a great journey I’ve had so far, and remember you are never too old to follow your dreams.”

Torch set, UWTSD students
Laurie Penc said: “This year's autumn in house show for the Torch has been the production of Noel Cowards Private lives, set designed by Kevin Jenkins for which I was again the Scenic Artist. The result has been a great success for the company and fantastic portfolio opportunity for me.” (UWTSD)

UWTSD’s Set Design & Production lecturer Dave Atkinson said:

“We have a long-standing working relationship with the Torch Theatre, not only do they work to a high standard, but every year also they welcome graduates to get a first job under their belt. Our Set Design and Production course is always evolving to match the needs from industry which means we create work ready, multi skilled practitioners. Our stage managers can make and repair props and costumes, our set builders know how to rig lighting equipment and so on, meaning our versatile graduates are skilled and employable.”