Victoria Maytom, a 2020 graduate from our Theatre Design BA (Hons) was recently nominated and Shortlisted for the Future Theatre Fund award. We caught up with Victoria to learn more about how this recognition supported her work as a freelance Performance and Spatial Designer.
Hi Victoria! Tell us more about the Future Theatre Fund!
The Future Theatre Fund is organised by the Evening Standard in association with TikTok. It’s aimed at supporting new young theatre makers to help them at the start of their career to provide support, funding and mentoring. This is the first year they’ve run it and it definitely feels like it’s been in reaction to the lockdown, and the pressure on our industry. 12 nominees will win in 6 different categories being judged by a panel of industry professionals.
How do you feel about being nominated and shortlisted?
It was so out of the blue, I found out I had been nominated before Christmas so spent the holidays (lockdown) putting together my application. I had to make a TikTok video which I’d never done before…although I’m now hooked! But yeah, that was new, I also had to submit just five images of my work, which for a designer was really hard as we normally submit whole portfolios, so trying to choose just five which I felt represented me and my work was tough. Then to find out I was shortlisted was amazing. Drama schools and theatres across the country had been nominating people for this fund and only six are chosen in each category so it’s amazing just to be shortlisted, and to have that recognition from people who don’t know you personally.
We found out the results at a virtual event, I was so nervous and excited, I wore my fanciest costume on the zoom call.
What impact has the nomination has on your work/career?
Well so far not a massive impact as we’re still in lockdown and jobs are only slowly happening, but it’s been a really great boost for my self-esteem in this difficult time. After graduating into lockdown, not really being able to get any work, and watching the industry having to fight for recognition, there’s moments where you start wondering whether it’s better to just to let it go and pursue other things. You doubt yourself and wonder whether your work is actually up to standard to survive in this wounded industry. But being shortlisted for this award, being recognised not just by Bruford but by other professionals, that’s been really empowering and encouraged me to keep making work.
What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about studying for a career in Theatre Design?
Experiment. Do an art foundation. Immerse yourself not just in theatre but all art forms…fill your Instagram with artists, designers, photographers, makers.
I did an art foundation before deciding to study theatre design and that year allowed me the freedom to just try out every art form, to go crazy and make weird things. In school you’re so constrained by what equipment you have, what you get taught etc… so I really recommend allowing yourself that year of less pressure to try new things, make mistakes and enjoy your art.
How did you know it was the field you wanted to go into?
Well, I didn’t. I always loved theatre and art, but it wasn’t until a teacher asked me to the create the set for our school play and opened my eyes to the creativity and design behind each production. I then realised that theatre design combined so many of my skills and areas of interest and when I look back I can really see how even the most random of subjects or experiences have fed into my craft today.
Victoria’s website is victoriamaytom.co.uk