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Step Change in context

Step Change in context

Career development in the management of performing arts can be fairly haphazard. There are limited opportunities for people to acquire knowledge or practical experience other than through their day jobs; formal training opportunities, particularly for those working freelance, often occur by chance – being in the right place at the right time or knowing the right people.

This is an ineffective way of identifying talent and placing it in the most appropriate context; it tends to overlook people from certain backgrounds who may not yet have acquired the confidence or networks needed to negotiate a path through a forest of half-glimpsed opportunities; and it is not designed to enable people in the earlier stages of their careers gain experience in different scales of organisation or different disciplines.


A network of building-based organisations in London – initially the National Theatre, Royal Opera House, Young Vic and BAC – responded to this situation in 2006 by developing a programme of professional development for talented individuals in the early-mid stages of their career. There were five Step Change cohorts between 2007 and 2013; 81 participants completed the programme, 61 arts professionals acted as mentors and 79 secondments were hosted by 58 arts organisations.

A booklet celebrating the first five years of Step Change is available here as a pdf (3.81MB pdf doc). This includes case studies of participants and lists of mentors and host organisations.

Step Change re-launched in summer 2014 with Bristol Old Vic, Live Theatre and the Lowry as Partner Organisations, plus ATG, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Paines Plough as Supporting Organisations. A further 12 participants completed the programme in 2015 taking the total number of alumni to 93.