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School Theatre Support Group

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Dates for your diary

EXTRAORDINARY GENERAL MEETING (EGM)

All members invited. Saturday 19th February 2022 10am (online meeting).

Details will be sent by email, including to members who have not yet renewed for 2022.


STSG CONFERENCE

Saturday 28th May 2022.

We are pleased to announced that our postponed conference will take place at The Leys School in Cambridge in May this year. Full details can be found on our Conference page.

Booking is now open!

End of an era!

STSG's Chairperson/Administrator, Paul Durose, has announced his "retirement" from the position as of June 2022.

Paul was one of the founding members of STSG in 2005 with two other former school technicians/managers who are no longer members. Since then, he has managed the day-to-day running of the organisation, as well as looking after the membership database, finances, sponsorship, website, communications, and arranging the many STSG events which have taken place over the years; starting from the early days of informal inter-school visits, to 12 successful conferences, plus training courses and annual trade show meets.

In that time, STSG has grown to be the recognised organisation for technical production, venue management and backstage education in schools, with the support of the ABTT since 2014. Over the last 15+ years, we have also seen an increasing awareness and acceptance of the professionalism of school theatres from our industry contacts and peers.

However, after 17 years in charge, Paul felt that the time has come to "retire" from the position of Group Administrator, which he will do at the end of this academic year.

At a meeting held in November 2021, it was agreed that the committee will fully take-over the management of the organisation. The structure of the committee will change, with the duties of running the Group spread amongst several members to avoid the burden falling on any one person. There will be a new Chairperson or two Co-Chairs, depending on what is decided, plus other traditional committee roles such as Treasurer and Secretary, and any other roles as deemed necessary.

The constitution requires any major change of policy for STSG to be presented and agreed at an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) at which all members can attend. This will take place as an online meeting on Saturday 19th February (10am for 45 minutes at most). Invitations will be sent by email.

New Term Updates

PERFORMANCE SUPPORT AWARD

The latest version of the PS Award is available for members to download from our shared drive via the Member Portal , ready for use in the coming term. This includes the new Unit 9 for Front-of-House / Production. Certificates are available to download for Bronze and Silver levels.

Details for the ABTT Gold Awardees and the resource guides are to follow as soon as possible.

Webinar Recording

STSG

STSG PRESENTATION

As part of the ABTT Virtual Theatre Show in June 2021, we presented an introduction to the STSG.

You can view the recording below, to find out about how we can support you, our conference and the STSG Performance Support Award. Plus we chatted about technical production and venue management issues in schools.

Speakers:

  • Jennifer Lewington-Chislett – Performing Arts Technician at Sir William Borlase's Grammar School in Marlow.
  • Christopher Stone – Theatre Technical Manager at Mulberry Schools Trust in London.
  • Peter Humphreys – Theatre Manager at Cranleigh School in Surrey.
  • Alex Cann – ABTT Trustee-Director and board member.

Supporting members during the pandemic

STSG Report 2020-21

2020 began as normal for STSG with our Annual Conference at Ampleforth College in North Yorkshire. As the UK braced itself for the arrival of Storm Dennis, we met for a packed day of workshops, seminars, break-out sessions and exhibitors, finishing with a splendid dinner at Ampleforth's on-site pub, The Windmill. (Photos )

Unfortunately back in February 2020, none of us could have predicted the impending severity of the emerging coronavirus situation, despite one delegate missing the conference at the last-minute with suspected COVID-19 symptoms.

By the end of March, we had to cancel our planned committee meeting and postpone the fully-booked 'IOSH' training course. However, for the most part, the STSG continued as a remote organisation - for the support and benefit of our members, as well as disseminating important advice and updates from the ABTT and other industry bodies. Some of us also attended the excellent webinars provided by the ABTT (see ABTT website for resources).

It was an uncertain time for us all, with schools closed for the rest of the academic year, moving to virtual teaching, no productions, and no clarity about schools opening again in September. We were sorry to hear of some members being made redundant. We created a Members' Survey as planning for Autumn Term productions commenced - which indicated a wide variety of responses to the pandemic, from the complete shutdown of Performing Arts, to near-normal plans for shows before Christmas. We quickly created a Shared Drive of COVID resources, with some members sharing their work on risk assessments and working policies.

Towards the end of the first lockdown period we began regular/weekly STSG Virtual Meets, which allowed members to share their thoughts and concerns, as well as simply being able to talk to others in the same situation. We continued to host several themed Virtual Meets during the Autumn Term 2020; the most popular of which was a session on Live Streaming - as many of us had to quickly become filming/editing/streaming experts as live performances were substituted by filmed events.

Plans for further STSG training courses had to be put on hold, including a repeat of the popular Props Making Workshop last held in September 2019 (Photos ). However, we were finally able to undertake the postponed 'IOSH Working Safely for Theatre' training course in October 2020, albeit virtually. Other excellent Virtual Courses were provided for members during 2020-21 covering 'COVID-19 Compliance', 'COVID-19 First Aid Top-up' and 'Working at Height', at the request of members.

The culmination of our remote planning was a Virtual Conference in February 2021, which was well supported by members and our industry friends, including the first-ever STSG Pub Quiz after the event. A full report can be found on our Conference page.

The STSG isn't able to be as proactive about supporting members as the larger organisations, but please be aware of the support which is available - whether that be within school, a union, the ABTT, friends, family or another source. The industry-run Theatre Helpline is as much for those working in school theatres/drama departments as it is for mainstream theatre. It is free and available 24/7 on 0800 915 4617 or advice@theatrehelpline.org

Twitter @SchoolTheatreUK

Health & Safety

RB

We are supported by RB Health & Safety Solutions who provide essential Health & Safety services to STSG members, including free email consultancy, plus discounts on audits and training.

STSG also runs training courses for members, including IOSH 'Working Safely for Theatre' (every 3 years). If you would like to host a training course, or have specific training needs, please contact us.

Members can find details of STSG services on the Member Home Page.

ABTT Technical Training

ABTT

ABTT's Bronze, Silver and Gold professional development awards for technicians are available every summer in Coventry and elsewhere in the country at other times.

Please visit the ABTT website for details of the next available courses.

Affiliation with ABTT

ABTT

Since June 2014 the STSG is affiliated as a committee of the Association of British Theatre Technicians (ABTT), giving us wider recognition as an organisation and also raising awareness of theatre work within schools.

We are continuing to operate independently with our own Constitution and Committee, but we will be adhering to the principles and objectives of the ABTT.

We are represented on the ABTT Council by Alexander Cann (former STSG member).

STSG membership is separate to ABTT membership, although from January 2020 eligible ABTT members can join STSG for free. For each member enrolled in this way, the ABTT will contribute a subsidy to the STSG at no extra cost to the member.