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.
Sarah Potter joined Scottish Ballet in 2016 as our resident copywriter. Crafting and curating fragments of copy, from our souvenir programmes to trustee reports, Sarah works to ensure that our copy is made for its reader. She also develops proposals that help fund our innovative community engagement projects.
We caught up with Sarah to find out what she loves about Scottish Ballet and how she discovered copywriting.
Tell us about your journey with the company
I joined Scottish Ballet in 2016. It's a dream job. Since the get-go, I've been helping to develop proposals for incredible projects, like our dance health programme and our digital season. I also write and edit our exclusive magazine for our supporters, Backstage. In 2017, we established a company tone of voice and this year, I became Commissioning Editor for our theatre souvenir programmes.
How did you get into copywriting?
'Butterfly-mind' and 'chatterbox'. Two phrases that peppered my primary school reports.
At secondary school, I had some lovely teachers who were super supportive of my dance and music commitments and passions. Most importantly, they made sure I scraped the four 'C' grades I needed to go to college and study Performing Arts.
At 17, I was faced with a huge confusing spaghetti-junction with no signs. I always dreamed of going to dance school, so it was a no-brainer. But college had changed me. I remember the day I watched DV8 Physical Theatre company performing Strange Fish and knew that that was what I wanted to do. I did apply to one ballet school, and I should've been encouraged that I made it to the final round of auditions, but I saw it as a door closing on me.
When my college tutor suggested I applied to university, I laughed. I thought she was joking. King Alfred's in Winchester had a new course, BA Hons in Contemporary Performing Arts. The audition was wonderful, I was in my element, I got it, and they got me. I spent three years experimenting with theatre, movement, sound, web-design, film and words. I was supported to try out my own ideas, which mostly took the form of time-based installations with text and movement.
I moved to Glasgow in 2003. I established myself as an artist, but if it wasn't for living with my gran for three years, I wouldn't have survived the lack of income. Faced with the real world, I made one promise to myself, to always work in the creative industries. That, I did and it paid off.
I've been a venue and project manager in the theatre, dance and media sector, and each job involved me finessing a different way of writing; taking minutes, writing letters, policies, online content, and most importantly, funding applications which I developed a love and a knack for.
From the age of 11, I kept diaries, and when something moved me, my heart would offer poetry. People kept commenting that I had 'a way with words' but I never once identified myself as a writer.
The job came up at Scottish Ballet, and I nearly didn't apply because of the 'copywriter' title. But here I am, my colleagues keep encouraging me to write more. I work hard to make sure I'm worthy of the word 'writer' in my title.
So, you see, I don't have a degree in English, and I'm not a trained marketer. It was fundraising that led me to my job.