The Challenge

Sterts is a charity theatre, run predominantly by a group of volunteers, but which also employs a small staffing team. In the summer season they put on 90 shows which range in genre in their outdoor theatre. They are also home to several performing companies including the Sterts Singers choir, Sterts Youth Theatre Company, and Nicky Brice Ballet.

This is the second Brave Recruitment placement that Sterts have taken on – the first was a position to further develop their audience on social media platforms – so, they were not new to the process and recognise the importance of finding hidden potential in Cornwall and have already embraced finding ways through their recruitment processes to connect with undiscovered talent. This time Sterts were looking for a Project Assistant to reach new audience demographics and “someone who has a passion for theatre and can demonstrate that enthusiasm in their thoughts, ideas and creative work.”

Theatrical opportunity

For everybody

Across Cornwall, many people face challenges that prevent them from accessing placements, opportunities and employment in the creative and cultural sector. In seeking a way to break down these ‘hidden diversity’ barriers, RIO began a conversation we called Brave Recruitment.

The Opportunity

With support from Cultivator and The Brave Recruitment programme, Sterts advertised a position for a full-time Project Assistant for 6 months. This Project Assistant role would be working on an Arts Council funded professional theatre piece called “The Shearing Gang”. This promised an opportunity to also gain experience in Project Management whilst being expected to work collaboratively supporting both the Sterts Office Team and the Creative Team to implement Sterts’ Marketing and Social Media Strategy.

The Difference

As previous users of the Brave Recruitment process, Sterts with Cultivator’s support, combined traditional recruitment methods with the addition of a design brief. As well as requesting a C.V, and covering letter, Sterts gave applicants a brief to design their own blog or vlog to create interest in the Sterts production of “Fantastic Mr Fox”, specifically targeting audiences of 16-25-year olds. In addition, applicants were asked to create a piece of social media content; they were required to choose their favourite form of social media for this target audience and create a sample post to promote the show. This gave candidates the opportunity to demonstrate the skills and passion Sterts were looking for.

Brave Recruit Jodie came up through RIO programme Game Changer and has been engaged in other RIO programmes for a while, so Cultivator could vouch that she was a perfect candidate for this role. “It’s not an application process that I’ve ever experienced before, and it gave me a chance to show off my creative skills, Sterts really considered the creative element of the role rather than just C.V. and application”. Jodie has always expressed an interest in Art and especially the medium of photography; she even created an exhibition at the Guildhall back in 2017.  Jodie expressed how she felt supported through the process. “Through the Brave Recruitment Programme, the application process (for the Sterts position) was super easy. It’s also good to know if I got stuck at all I could ask questions and kind of have a proof check before sending it”.

The Result

On the 11th March Brave Recruit Jodie began her placement at Sterts and has already got stuck into her role. “I am doing the promotion and admin for the Shearing Gang production. So I do anything from making posters, going to rehearsals, printing scripts for the cast. I also do a lot of social media stuff”. She also expressed how much she is enjoying her placement “Yes, definitely enjoying the job, it’s creative, what’s not to love! Everyone has been super welcoming; the first two weeks have been super quiet, but everyone here calls it “the calm before the storm” (mainly because the season hasn’t started just yet).” Jodie now wishes to continue working in the creative sector after her placement has finished and feels that this opportunity has given her good foundations to do so.

In response to being asked about Sterts’ experience with the Brave Recruitment Programme Lisa had this to say “(It’s been) a good networking opportunity, (through the different strands of the Brave Recruitment programme) (we’ve been) getting advice from younger people and diversifying our business, and the support from RIO has been great.” Sterts has also had a Brave Recruitment Innovation Lab delivered at their organisation by Cultivator and have found it extremely beneficial. Lisa also offered advice for other Brave Recruits hoping to gain employment in the creative sector.” Don’t worry about being an expert, creative industries are looking for different skills, they also put a real value on reliability and just having a go, no one is expecting a carbon copy of themselves working for them.”

What do they think?

"Jodie has slotted in perfectly to the Sterts team. She has already demonstrated how hard working and responsible she is, and every day we find out more about her capabilities and experience. She is so calm and grounded and brings that energy to group discussion and the office in general."

If you are interested in becoming a Brave Recruiter and helping to push the boundaries of creative organisations in Cornwall whilst giving opportunities to those often left out visit the Cultivator page.

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