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Nurturing New Talent

We are proud to be a leading force in cultivating the theatre-makers of tomorrow. Our creativity and in-house skills are widely recognised, giving confidence and guidance to those starting out and providing a creative springboard for work on a larger scale.

Our ethos is based on a sense of community, with acting companies, stage management and creative teams living and working on site. This enables them to develop individual craft and explore and learn new skills from our experienced and passionate team. This environment demands a commitment to the work that encourages a true sense of ensemble that is visible on stage. Our intimate auditorium also means that there is a remarkably strong connection between the actors and the audience making this theatre a very special place to visit.

Our passion for nurturing emerging talent extends beyond those who perform on stage. We offer support and opportunities for professional development to directors, assistant directors, designers, lighting and sound designers, composers, stage management and technical staff. We also train administration staff for careers in the arts from casting to marketing and fundraising. Our extensive outreach programme means that we are able to offer facilitation roles to those wishing to extend their portfolio of skills or to pursue a career in education and outreach work.

The value of our work and our supportive ethos is further evidenced by the wide spectrum of companies and individuals who wish to work with us. Our Associate Company programme has helped young companies starting out such as emerging physical theatre company Rhum and Clay to Zimbabwean company Two Gents, or new local producing company Reading Rep. We also work with large-scale commercial producers creating shows that go on to have a life far beyond The Watermill.

With director, Nancy Meckler, we instigated our Freewheel programme offering actors fresh from drama school and young creative teams the chance to create their work over a longer rehearsal period, with additional skills training from specialist practitioners under the guidance of a director of the international status of Nancy Meckler.

“The Watermill is a theatre which encourages artistic growth and development at its very core. As an emerging theatre maker, The Watermill has been absolutely instrumental to my progress and learning; it has not only provided opportunities to work with the best artists, but the team has trusted me to create my own work, and platformed that alongside established writers as an equally important part of their programming. As a place for fostering both ideas and people, The Watermill is second to none.”  Emerging director and writer, Jessica Swale

“The actors seem to flourish in this intimate setting and give superb performances, and the tiny stage is often cleverly transformed several times during the course of the evening.” Audience member

“…Watermill audiences may well be in on the start of some glittering careers both on stage and in the creative team, thanks to Freewheel.” Whats On Stage (The Miser)