Started as part of Waltham Forest's year as London Borough of Culture 2019, the Future Creatives programme has opened up the opportunity for young people aged 16-25 from the borough to be part of the cultural landscape of the future.
The programme aims to break down barriers into the cultural industries by providing young people with mentors, work experience, coaching and more. There have been two intakes of young people so far, with the third now open for applications.
We spoke to Bianca, a recent Future Creatives alumni, on what her experience of the programme was like...
The Future Creatives programme is designed for those who want to get into the cultural industries. What kind of cultural work are you keen to be involved in?
Theatre specifically. I've been doing art and drama for as long as I can remember and my enjoyment of art was kind of sucked out of me through the education system but the more I was performing, the more I loved it. After A Levels, I knew I didn't want to be an actor; the industry is brutal and I felt I wanted to have more control in what people see rather than be the thing people see and be more creative in my career. Because of this, I learnt everything I could about the theatre industry. London is such a great city for that and I learnt so much, so many pathways to choose from, too many in fact! I knew that I wanted to do something in theatre, I didn't know what yet. I still don't know what yet. Something creative.
Are there any people in this line of work who inspire you?
Lynette Linton, the artistic director at the Bush Theatre, one of my favourite theatres in London. She is actively using her position and opportunities to give a voice to stories not often told and it's so inspiring to see. She also went to my college, Leyton Sixth Form College which gives me great hope and a sly connection to her as well, in a weird way. I really love what she does and it's thrilling.
For you, what’s been the most fulfilling part of the Future Creatives programme? Why?
The people. I love talking to people and hearing what they have to say about art. It broadens my mind and forces me to think about things I never really thought about or considered and I relish that. Having my first impressions challenged and that spark in discussion when you talk about passions, whether that's your own or someone else's.
How has the Future Creatives programme helped you in terms of your future plans?
My mentor has helped me so much. After being told for almost 5 years of your life (which is at least a quarter of my life) that you have to go to university, it was harrowing and frustrating. Finally having someone in your corner, to support you, for you to turn to with questions about your chosen path, not just career, it was so reassuring. She helped me so much, gave me such great advice and I have her to thank for the job I have now because of the amazing interview tips she gave me.
What advice would you give to those applying for the Future Creatives programme?
Be open minded. This is an opportunity to try new things and explore yourself. Be critical. Find your passion, follow your gut and you can't go wrong. This will help you further your career, this programme is prepared to give you that push you want. It's a risk worth taking, so don't be afraid to take it.
Would you, or someone you know, benefit from the Future Creatives programme? Make sure you apply now - applications close on 6 December 2019.