[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 help give an impression of the experiences of recent participants.
VIDEO 1: JADE ANDERSON VIDEO 2: SADIQ ALI
Working with Al and Waypoint-1 has honestly been quite life-changing. I have been making performance and creating original work for years now, but it always felt like a side project or even just a hobby. I didn’t believe in myself enough to see my theatre as work. Speaking to Al regularly has really allowed me to dig deep into my practice and think about my creative process professionally. Our weekly meetings have given me focus and confidence, and I now believe I can make the work I want to make, get the funding I need and ultimately do what it is that I love. I don’t believe there is any programme quite like this and I really hope many other people can benefit from it as much as I have.
As a mentor, Al is inspiring and knowledgeable but also very comforting and understanding. He is honest, kind, and generous, and the meetings feel very collaborative. After lockdown I was ready to give up my arts practice and move onto something that I believed would be more stable and reliable, but Al has helped me understand my worth as a professional creative professional. He has helped me write funding applications that felt too overwhelming to attempt alone and has allowed me to see my work as something that is ongoing, sustainable, and worthwhile. Waypoint-1 has not only positively affected my creative practice but has also has a wonderful impact on the rest of my life. Through the project I have met some wonderful new friends and potential collaborators whilst formulating new ideas for the future.
Engaging with Waypoint-1’s mentoring programme with Al Seed has already had a massively positive impact on my creative practice. Because I’ve largely been working alone in my room, not showing my work to anybody else, I didn’t really believe that I had any experience or work that was worth sharing publicly. Through connecting with other early career Theatre-Makers and Performers with the support of Waypoint-1, I’ve totally changed my own perspective on my body of work – past, present, and future – both during my participation on Cartography at Dundee Rep’s Stripped Season and through group meetings with Waypoint-1 participants working in similar mediums. It’s really helped me to put my work into context within the wider Creative and Cultural Sector. Before I was accepted onto Waypoint-1, I was struggling with imposter syndrome, feeling demoralised that my creative practice and working style didn’t fit into any existing industry career pathways, and desperate for help to find a direction.
Now, just a few months into the programme: I know deeply that my work and unique approach to creative practice and Theatre-Making is vitally important to much needed positive social change within the Performing Arts. Thank you so much Al, Shona, Charlene and everyone else that’s helped support me and connect together a group of fantastic, vibrant creatives who all have incredibly strong and unique voices. Waypoint-1 is not just helping support the work of emerging Theatre-Makers, but more than that, it’s a programme truly shaping the way our industry could and should be in the future.
Al has proven to be an extremely knowledgeable and generous mentor, since January 2022, when we first started having regular online meetings. He is extremely dedicated and has helped me develop in so many ways as an artist, from helping me with funding applications, paid performance opportunities, building community with other creatives, and much, much more.
He has been an invaluable source of steady support, helping me regain a sense of confidence, purpose and direction after a very difficult couple of years, during which I felt lost and disillusioned with the idea of being a performing artist. He has opened my mind to so many possibilities within the world of live art, and creates a space where you feel comfortable and at ease, where difficult topics such as racism, sexism and homophobia in the arts can be discussed without judgment or tension. My time spent learning with him has resulted in so many life changing opportunities for which I will be forever grateful.
The world of performance and theatre has been new to me as I am primarily a writer. However, the experience with Waypoint-1 has been incredible, and has opened up new avenues of creative exploration. I am now exploring the ways in which writing can push boundaries and move into performance and am even considering the possibility of shaping one of my books into a one woman show. These ideas would not have seemed possible to me a year ago and I have the respect, guidance, and support of Waypoint-1 to thank for this progression in my creative career.
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.