2019 is our 50th anniversary and we are championing some of the people who help make Scottish Ballet a great place to work. Each week we will introduce you to a different career at Scottish Ballet and the person behind it.
As Creative Director of Engagement, Lorraine Jamieson's job is to select parts of the repertoire the company is performing and use them to create projects which are accessible for everyone.
She adapts sections of the stage production to be performed in schools and care homes, and finds the right dance artists to perform and deliver our engagement activities. We hopped up to the studio to see what she was working on and to find out more about her role at Scottish Ballet.
When did you start dancing?
When I was 19. I was serious about acting but decided I wasn’t ready for it so I took a year out and did an Introduction to Dance course. I was an awful dancer to start with, but I loved it. I loved the discipline, challenging my body and my brain. Miraculously, I kept getting accepted on to the next year of training.
What made you want to work for Scottish Ballet?
All through my training and first years of employment, I was taking class at Scottish Ballet every Monday and Tuesday. The classes were led by Preston Clare and company dancers (and they still are). I always went to see the latest Scottish Ballet production. When Catherine Cassidy took the post as Director of Education I started freelancing for the company and each project I worked on became more exciting and ambitious.
What are the challenges of your job?
Over the years, my role has evolved to Engagement Creative Director. It’s hard sometimes to take a step back and let my team of dance artists put their creative stamp on our work. I’m passionate about what we do, and I get excited.
What are you most proud of working on at Scottish Ballet?
The fact that Christopher Hampson makes dance engagement a priority means that we have freedom to think big. In 2013, I had the idea to work in the woods with young people from Kibble Education and Care Centre in Paisley, a special unit for young people facing adversity. We made a dance work together outside based on themes from Hansel & Gretel. We still deliver The Close project today and through careful development we are expanding. It’s gone beyond what we ever thought would be possible, with participants from the project now being mentored by Scottish Ballet staff.
What are looking forward to working on in 2019?
Taking our new project Safe to Be Me on the road to primary schools. I’m excited to see if we hit the mark with the P6 children who take part. This project means a lot to me. Young people have the right to feel safe about who they are, to explore their identity, reject a label, and to be allies to our friends who experience prejudice and adversity.
Having members of our Youth Exchange Company perform in the schools for the Safe to Be Me project also feels like something to be proud of, being able to offer our young dancers a community dance experience that could shape their careers. Going beyond physical training and looking at professionalism and work ethic.
You are responsible for finding appropriate training for the Engagement Team and related projects. What has been the most memorable or your favourite, what did they entail?
Before a project starts we ‘skill-up’. Our Time to Dance project for dementia friendly dance involved specific training. Members from across the company took part alongside the Engagement Team. It was emotional. To walk around a building that we know very well with props that limit and distort our senses had an impact on us all. It has made me even more empathetic every time we enter a care home setting.
What inspires you at Scottish Ballet?
The Scottish Ballet repertoire inspires the content. But it’s the groups of people we work with who inspire me to do my job.
What's your 'get-up and go' song?