“Be bold, and go for it” – Robin’s Story #ICMyVision
Working with young people to create pathways into the creative industries is the reason we exist as an institution, and is a key driver for Robin Belfield, the Principal Lecturer responsible for our Musical Theatre course.
Robin was a recipient of the Channel 4 Theatre Director Scheme, and from there he became Assistant Director of the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton. Robin then spent many years as a Freelance Director, working for theatres up and down the country, as well as working in drama schools, directing productions, teaching, and training young actors.
For the past five years, Robin has been the Young People’s Performance Director at the Royal Shakespeare Company, focusing on talent development – a prestigious position that is shaping the future of many young performers, as well as the industry as a whole.
We’re incredibly honoured to have Robin on our faculty, driving his vision for a more diverse and inclusive industry. Here he is to tell you more…
When did you first realise you wanted to be a part of the theatre industry?
I was watching a production at the RSC – a classic, that one! I can remember the moment very clearly. There was one actor on stage, in a pool of light, and I thought to myself: “I want to be him.” Then, I spent many years trying to find myself in those play. I thought I was going to be an actor, and then I changed my mind got to university.
“There was one actor on stage, in a pool of light, and I thought to myself: I want to be him.”
While I was at university in Bristol, I was working with some incredibly inspiring people at the Bristol Old Vic, including a Director called Sally Cookson – who’s doing some magnificent things at the moment. Working with her really taught me about storytelling, and that’s when I knew that was really what I wanted to do. I wanted to be a Director, getting the best out of actors, helping them use their energy and creativity to tell a story together.
Why does what you do give you life?
As a practitioner, one of the greatest privileges is being able to “switch on the lights” for people. To facilitate those moments when you’re in a company, or you’re teaching, and you’re able to explain something in a way that resonates. Often, as a Director, you’re encouraging a company to create a vision or become united in telling a story in a certain way – and there’s a lovely moment when everybody connects with that, and we’re all suddenly pulling in the same direction. That’s a really exciting, inspiring moment.
“As a practitioner, one of the greatest privileges is being able to ‘switch on the lights’ for people … to explain something in a way that resonates.”
It’s the same for teaching, when you’re working with young people, students, or training professionals who suddenly “get it”. Sometimes it’s a little moment that otherwise would go by unnoticed, sometimes it’s a big revelation. It doesn’t always happen in a show, it’s often in a classroom. That’s a real privilege for me. I feel very lucky to be able to witness that and be part of that process.
What’s it like to work at ICTheatre?
The most fulfilling thing about working here is the students. It’s inspiring to feel their energy. The staff here are great too. I’m new to the team, and I’m so excited by the opportunities that are here. We’re forging something genuinely new and different, we’re shaping what it means to train as a performer in the 21st century.
What would you say to anyone dreaming of a performing arts career?
Be bold, and go for it. I struggled with seeing myself in this industry, but if you don’t see yourself then that means there is a place waiting for you. It means that space has got to be filled by you.
“If you don’t see yourself, it means there is a place waiting for you.”
So go for it, work hard, and I promise that will be so rewarding in itself.
Interested in joining the #ICTheatreMovement? Book into one of our upcoming open days or events HERE.