Norwich Theatre Royal Launches New Training Programme

A brand new programme of training courses and opportunities launches this autumn at Norwich Theatre Royal.

It is set to double the number of available courses and offer a broader range of opportunities in terms of content, art form and timing of courses.

In the past, it has operated mainly on Saturdays with an emphasis on traditional acting and performances.

The autumn revamp aims to dramatically increase the number of courses, put creativity and contemporary theatre at its heart, continue to offer a high quality of learning and spread these opportunities across the week. The forthcoming courses have been redesigned to meet the changing theatre industry standards and trends, and will include a year long acting course,  as well as opportunities to focus an individual’s’ learning in backstage skills, physical or ensemble theatre.


Wendy Ellis, the theatre’s learning and participation director, said: “As one of the country’s most successful regional theatres with three different stages, we are in the unique position of being able to use the professional knowledge we have in abundance to offer a broader range of learning opportunities for children, young people and adults.

“This new training programme puts a high emphasis on training, learning and individual progression, and taps into the phenomenal professional resources we have at our disposal.  They are centred around a series of new companies designed to suit the learning needs of different age groups. Where possible, we will link our learning activities to events and professional performances happening across our three stages while also ensuring the students feel part of the Theatre Royal family.”

These companies are:

  • The Young Company for 7-17-year-olds which will put them at the centre of the creative process to produce vibrant, innovative and creative theatre. As well as boosting their practical skills, they will also develop self-esteem, communication and team-work skills.
  • The Empirical Company for 18-25-year-olds which will give young artists the skill, vision and courage to explore different forms of theatre across new, contemporary and traditional styles.
  • The People’s Company for those 26 years and over, offering training opportunities for those who are new to theatre or are a professional already working in the industry


In addition, the theatre will increase its commitment to creative writing courses. An Introduction To Script-Writing Course begins in the autumn followed by 2019 courses on Writing For Performance and one specifically for Young Writers aged 16 to 25.

Audition Technique Courses will also resume from September helping to remove the fear for those applying for drama school, college or university with practical skills-based support from professional practitioners. Students can also work towards performance exams recognised by Trinity College London, and the learning and participation team will continue supporting the Arts Awards Scheme by offering access to performances and the chance to meet industry professionals.

A new Theatre Makers network is being formed offering specialist training and networking opportunities for any adults involved in amateur dramatics across the region, and there will also be an annual CPD programme for artists and practitioners with masterclasses delivered by industry professionals as well as networking opportunities for the sharing of skills, knowledge and ideas.



There will be the chance for over-18s to get involved in the varying aspects of delivering creative activities and learning for young people with a Volunteer Assistants Programme which will offer access to training and specialist mentoring through the process.

An entirely new offer is available for young people within the Empirical Company. This will support those with a desire to discover different theatrical forms and techniques, whilst exploring new methods of creating and presenting to audiences.  Whilst members of this new company will receive training, the emphasis is upon facilitating the development of young artists who have the skill, vision and courage, to create new and exciting theatre.

The theatre’s Wendy Ellis said: “These new companies and many of the new programmes will give a number of opportunities for people to become a part of performances through the year at Stage Two, Norwich Theatre Royal or Norwich Playhouse. Where possible we will also include opportunities to perform at local, regional and national festivals or events.

“For the majority of courses, both the weekly hours and the numbers of weeks have been extended to allow more time for students to develop their skills. The companies are designed to encourage co-operation and teamwork which will support creative development but also requires commitment and dedication from participants to allow all members to excel and achieve the most from their training.”