It's Anastasia's first week as Trainee Artistic Director at tiata fahodzi and she reflects on her jam-packed week – from assisting on shows to attending other shows for the company, it's been a thrilling experience already – and it's only just begun.
A whirlwind of information, a new bubbly arty environment, a lovely step up into new responsibilities and enjoyable work, a new supportive team to belong to and a dynamic vision and mission to direct my life towards. It’s been a great start to my journey as trainee artistic director (TAD) at tiata fahodzi (TF).
Before I started as TAD at TF I was enjoying the freelance life, working on a variety of projects as an Assistant Director and, increasingly, as Director on my own projects. Though I was enjoying being freelance, I began to crave more stability and a desire to be involved in a theatre – or a theatre company – for a longer period of time. I wanted to further develop my understanding of how renowned theatre organisations operate to effectively produce and create great works of art. I began to venture into producing with my theatre company Wrested Veil, co-producing and directing Footprints on the Moon at the Finborough theatre. Though the project went well, it made me see that I could benefit from gaining greater knowledge potentially as an Artistic Director.
My first week started with a thorough induction day to equip me with everything I need to get working: a warm welcome to wonderful Watford, my new home. With Natalie the Artistic Director & CEO of TF (and my new boss) we delved into my job description – it was overwhelming and exhilarating to think about everything I'll be doing over these next two years. My first day was topped off with a lovely dinner and heart-to-heart with Natalie, which I thoroughly enjoyed.
The day after I began the process of going through board meeting minutes, reports and office policies supplied by our Administrator Bhavini to get me on track with TF’s work and current situation. I started on my to do list which included: reading the first draft of mixed brain - TF's summer show in Edinburgh, creating lists of shows by artists of African heritage that we should see while we're there, creating a list of artists we’re thinking about working with, reading plays that have been sent to TF for consideration and starting reports to feedback on them to Natalie. My days are full and there’s plenty of work to be getting on with – no possibility of boredom now.
My first week ended with hearing the new draft of mixed brain in the rehearsal room which Natalie and Writer and Actor Nathan Bryon had been working on throughout the week. It was also my first day as Assistant Director on the show, it was so lovely to get a clear sense of what we’ll be taking up to the Fringe.
That evening I went to see my first show on Natalie’s behalf, representing TF. It felt great to be operating as the eyes and ears of the company, something I'll be doing a lot more throughout my time.
Now at the end of my second week, I’m getting further through my to do list (yes!) and team TF are going on their monthly diaspora date to the Tate Modern for the Soul of a Nation exhibition.
My journey as TAD at TF is well under way and if it’s anything like the start I know I’m going to have a brilliant rollercoaster of a two years. I think the ADLP programme is deeply important in the cultural arts ecology. A programme which works to train up the next generation of leaders, giving people of colour the opportunity to gain experience that will equip them to lead major arts organisations, will hopefully open the door for more people of colour to be appointed as Artistic Directors. If there are more people from diverse backgrounds becoming Artistic Directors I believe it ensures a richer arts ecology, one that truly reflects the world we live in.
Anastasia is the Trainee Artistic Director at tiata fahodzi.