As the new academic year draws ever nearer, we think 2017/18 will be your year to make solid progress in turning your artistic hobby or part-time passion into a sustainable career.

So the team at Cast have compiled a list of events, programmes and practical tips to help you take the next step in your arts career.

Quite frankly, Doncaster needs artists, and at Cast we really understand all that you're going through trying to balance work and being creative. So let's make the most of 2017/18 and make every day a school day! 

1. Networking

Meeting new artists and expanding your professional network takes time and often money! Here at Cast we host regular Artist Hangouts which are a great way to get recognised by other local artists and meet the influential players in town. We hold monthly sessions at Cast, which are totally free and sometimes include discounted tickets to see the show that evening. Click here to join on to Cast's next Artist Hangout. Cast is also due to launch a Corporate Club in October which will give you access to great networking events with professionals and creative professionals alike. 

2. Manage your personal PR

Most of us know the basics, but are you really making the most of your social media? If your Facebook is filled with Game of Thrones memes and pictures of you drunk perhaps it's time you did a bit of spring cleaning. So much of our professional interactions are now appearing online so it makes the most sense to put out there the best version of yourself - the one you'd like your new artistic partner or employer to see! We find twitter is a great network builder, so jump on every bit of arts news out there and get yourself part of the conversation. You'll soon be growing influence and followers. 

3. Don't quit your day job

Or at least not yet! If you're building a career in the arts, Cast has loads of ways to support your artistic and professional development to fit your working hours. Although it might not be what you really want to do for the rest of your life, having some security (financial and emotional) in the early stages of your career is really helpful!

4. Hone your skills

Cast has got loads of one-off workshops and training which offer plenty of food for thought to keep artists' juices flowing. Workshops include ActingTechnical Theatre, Creating New Theatre even Writing for the Stage. Click here to see all our workshops for the Autumn Season. The great thing about our one-off workshops is that they are super cheap, and there is no obligation and they can fit in around your work or other commitments - so there's no excuse!

5. Make the change

If you're passionate about the arts and think there's something missing in Doncaster, make it happen! Cast has a Young Producers scheme for 14-21 year-olds, where we basically create ideas and own them. The group meets once a month and is a great way to gain experience in working on projects and creating arts activities. What's more the Young Producers can also attend the Artists Hangouts after their session to get a full evening of creative networking and project building. Cast is also working with EXPECT Youth to deliver a programme called Young Leaders, which is for local young people who are interested in managing new arts projects and acting as arts leaders. For more information on that one, speak to Sarah Clough our Head of Participation at [email protected].

6. Make the Work 

One of the greatest challenges as an artists is to find the space (physical and mental) to be artistic. Well Cast can help you there, with spaces for hire and artist residencies we can support companies and artists to nurture their latest project in our building. We support a range of residencies throughout the year, available to not-for-profit practitioners working in the performing arts at all career stages. R&D periods will usually be for up to one week, but sometimes for extended periods. If you'd like to talk to someone about R&D space, email Cast's Director Deborah Rees at [email protected].

7. Get your work programmed

Cast supports a range of artists to help get their work seen and programmed in theatres through our production support and associated partnerships with Routes North (part of Venues North) and SLATE (Supporting Black International Artists). If you'd like to get involved, or discover more ways to get your work seen and heard, contact Cast's Director Deborah Rees at [email protected].