[Image: cast, crew, and former mentees of Al Seed working on The Shadow of Heaven, created by Al Seed Productions and Judith Milligan]
If you are considering applying to Waypoint-1, here are some written and video statements which should give an impression of the expriences of current participants.
VIDEO 1: JADE ANDERSON VIDEO 2: SADIQ ALI
I started Waypoint-1 during lockdown; it was a scary time as an emerging theatre maker, and I wasn’t sure of my next steps or how to generate work after the pandemic. It has been so helpful to have someone to talk to about my goals, as it is something I have never had the chance to do before.
I have been able to talk to Al about a range of different art forms and discuss ways to move forward, practicalities and also things like self-care and time management. Al has been so easy to talk to and really friendly from the start; he creates a comfortable and safe space to discuss future ideas and plans without any judgement. It really feels like that extra support is there, which is so needed in the arts, and that there is someone to talk to that understands.
I run a theatre company with my partner in Dundee and being able to have workshops on setting up a company, funding, etc. has been incredibly helpful as before it felt like a near impossibility to do anything like that. We have also been able to meet new people in the industry (particularly based in Dundee) through the mentoring and that has made us feel more connected to other artists in the city.
My partner and I have been able to have one on one sessions, as we both have different interests, and be able to have sessions together that are more company focused. It has been absolutely brilliant, and I can’t wait to continue in the future. I have recommended the project to every theatre-maker I know and will continue to do so. It really is invaluable.
As someone who gained experience while living in the United States, it was a bit of a whirlwind to return to Scotland and almost instantly fall into a global pandemic. I reached out to Al through the Waypoint-1 scheme to assist me in reorienting myself within the Scottish arts world.
Over the past five months, Al has been many things: listener, encourager, and a firm supporter through a difficult time. By having me direct our meetings, I have gained more confidence in how to approach artistic meetings in the outside world. He has given me the tools to understand various applications and also how to market myself and what I wish to achieve through the Scottish Arts industry.
He has also listened, without judgement, to the various issues an LGBTQ+ artist has faced, and instead of shying away from these conversations, he has invested himself in not only making spaces more accessible, but also in his own understanding of the community I belong to and the problems we face in the industry.
Working with Waypoint-1 has given me direction in a time when I had none. For that I am extremely grateful.
Waypoint-1 has allowed me to re-focus my work – what I make, why and how I make it – and to reconnect with my practices, which have had to change because of the pandemic; it is a time of uncertainty for the industry as a whole, not just early career artists.
In the last 12-18 months this has left me feeling a bit lost and disillusioned with the idea of working as an artist/theatre-maker. Being part of the project has allowed me to consider what my future in theatre might look like and, most helpfully, how I can make this happen and take back some agency that I feel I had lost.
The past few months have been invaluable and I feel very grateful for the experience. I hope the project continues as it fosters community and collaborative working in a way that I think, going forward, it will be necessary for the survival of an open, diverse and inclusive industry.
A friend told me, ‘you need to speak to Al’, and she was right. I wanted to bring my own personal healing journey together with my neuroscience background and documentary filmmaking experience to create a sensory-based show. He supported me to find my own process, dream big then distill it down to its essence. He respected the work that I’d already done and opened it up to the world of live, visual performance.
Our weekly meetings were a lifeline; an effortless blend of friendly chat, an intro to theatre with lighthearted challenges, and access to Al’s team for support. All of this has empowered me to believe I can actually do this.