I am an apprentice… Bernadette Sweeny

The final issue in our series on mentorship. Feel free to weigh in on thee questions, or anything else that strikes your fancy…

FM:What is your experience with/opinions on mentorship?
BS: I was an engineer. I only started in theatre at St Martins’ Youth Arts Centre, Melbourne, Australia, and learned everything I knew about theatre through mentorship.

FM: What are the direct benefits of mentoring that you feel cannot be developed via other means?
BS: I have only ever applied for one theatre job in six years, all my work comes through networking. In fact I can trace nearly all of my work back to my very first mentorship at St Martins.

FM: Are there limitations to mentorship?
BS: I think that both the mentor and the mentoree have to [have the] understanding that mistakes will be made. Also the people surrounding must be aware that a mentoring process is in place, and be willing to take part.

FM: Which has greater value – self-initiated or formal mentoring – and why?
BS: I would say that formal mentorships have the greatest benefit. There is a clear indication of what the mentor and mentoree want to gain out of the partnership, there is usually a timeline in place and some sort of structure to the mentorship.

BERNADETTE SWEENEY is stage manager/production manager working with Bluebottle in Melbourne, Australia. She has been touring Back to Back’s production of Small Metal Objects around the world for the past 18 months.


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