Press release: Youth employment event heads to the North West

The Creative Society’s THIS IS IT! comes To Manchester: arts industry professionals to coach local 16-24 year olds

Fiona Gasper , Executive Director of Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre, and Eleanor Greene of the multi award-winning Wall to Wall Productions are among top industry professionals to take part in a creative youth careers day on Friday 30 May at The Central Library, Manchester.

THIS IS IT! Manchester will bring 16-24 year olds together with industry professionals, giving them the tools and knowledge to fast-track their careers in the creative industries. As well as inspirational speakers, the day will include practical workshops on career-boosting skills such as freelancing and entrepreneurship, and offer a platform for them to create their own professional networks through collaboration with peers whilst receiving expert support and advice from leading industry professionals. Local and national organisations Creative SkillsetSharp Futures and Curious Minds have been instrumental in bringing the event to Manchester, along with the nationwide creative network IdeasTap.

THIS IS IT! launched last year at London’s Sadler’s Wells, and is focussed primarily on interns and apprentices employed through the Arts Council England-funded and Creative & Cultural Skills-run Creative Employment Programme. In Manchester, the event is accessible to the public, and is presented in association with PANDA (Performing Arts Network and Development Agency).

The Creative Society is an arts employment charity that helps young people into jobs in the creative and cultural industries through a diverse range of projects. The charity has supported over 1000 unemployed young people into placements in the arts.

THIS IS IT! events are about recognising and developing the potential in young people regardless of where they come from and democratising access to careers in the creative industries. We are working in partnership with Arts Council England, Creative & Cultural Skills and UK leading arts organisations to deliver a series of live and interactive events across the country for over 6,500 unemployed 16-24 year olds from a variety of backgrounds.

The Creative Employment Programme is a £15m fund to support the creation of traineeships, formal apprenticeships and paid internship opportunities in England for young unemployed people aged 16-24 wishing to pursue a career in the arts and cultural

Fiona Gasper is the Executive Director for the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester.  Recent previous roles have included Executive Producer of Liverpool’s 2008 European Capital of Culture programme (2004-2009) and Executive Producer for Contact, Manchester’s theatre for young people. Fiona has worked in the cultural sector around the UK for the past 25 years in a range of full time roles and as a freelance consultant. She was awarded an MBE for services to the Arts in June 2009.

Eleanor Greene is Head of Drama Development at Wall to Wall productions, where she is responsible for generating new drama projects. She began her career as a runner before becoming a script editor for Red Production Company. She produced the winning script for the Dennis Potter New Writing Competition, which resulted in a commission from BBC Two and the film, Indian Dream. She moved to London to join World Productions where she produced Murder Prevention for Five and Party Animals for BBC Two, before joining Wall to Wall in 2010.

PANDA – the performing arts network, was created in 2004. They are a membership organisation who proactively support venues, companies and individuals working in the performing arts sector in the North. They facilitate networks, provide training and consultancy, offer professional advice and guidance, and create connections.

Images from This Is It! Sadler’s Wells launch:

Images from THIS IS IT! Bristol, featuring Portishead musician Geoff Barrow:

For high resolution images, contact


Previous press on THIS IS IT!:
New ‘college’ of the humanities that’s not just for the rich
The Guardian, March 2014 (on THIS IS IT! speaker Jonny Mundey)

Portishead band member Geoff Barrow speaks at youth employment event
Bristol Post, April 2014



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