THE SCIENCE SHOWOFF TALENT FACTORY
Would you like to develop your science performance skills?
Over the next year, would you like to meet and work with key contacts across the industry, and have access to new opportunities to perform? All with the help of the creator of Bright Club and Science Showoff, and one of the UK’s most popular geek comedians?
Each year Steve Cross works closely with 10-14 science communicators to help them become a mutually-supportive group of elite science performers. You can see the first cohort (who started in Sept 2016) on the Talent Factory website. We’re about to recruit a second cohort.
The first year’s cohort have set up a strong mutual support network, gigged across the UK including at festivals, entered competitions, won competitions, had training from some amazing names including Fiona Laird, Simon Watt and Sarah Bennetto and developed lots of new podcast, video and live products. They’ve experimented with new styles of performance (I’m pretty sure that the only regular science drag acts in the UK are growing out of this group) and pushed the edges of what science is supposed to be in a live environment. They’ve been screen-tested by TV companies and performed for corporate, museum, school and family audiences, as well as drunk geeks in pubs. They have had many silly photos taken.
WHAT YOU GET
- To perform at lots of Science Showoff gigs and other fun things Steve organises or takes part in
- Access to opportunities and development no-one else can get
- Masterclasses from some amazing performers and trainers
- To appear on new podcasts and videos
- Promotion via the Science Showoff website, YouTube channel and social media feeds
- Lots of photos, video and audio to share with potential bookers
- Help writing and improving science shows and comedy from Steve and all sorts of other fun people
- Recommendations to science organisations as a performer
- Introductions to Steve’s contacts
- A community of like-minded people to support them and work with them
- No reasonable favour will be refused
WHAT’S EXPECTED FROM YOU
- To help the rest of the group and offer them opportunities you come across
- To take part in more than 10 activities during the year
- To give the group as much help as they receive themselves
- To stay involved for the whole year
DO YOU HAVE TO BE A SCIENTIST?
No. We like people who are interested in science performance in any way. The first cohort included a dancer, a historian, a videographer, a comedian, a producer and lots, lots more. There will be researchers in the Talent Factory, but the Talent Factory isn’t about researchers.
HOW TO APPLY
We hid this bit in the middle so you have to read the rest of the text. Applications for the second cohort of Talent Factory will open on May 12th 2017 and close on June 30th 2017. To apply just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with a CV (two pages maximum) and a letter (two pages maximum) that tells us:
About your experience performing, presenting, running events, creating media and so on.
What you hope to get out of being in the Talent Factory, including the areas where you know you need development help.
What you bring to the Talent Factory that you can share with others, including any channels or opportunities you’re involved with, or skills you can help others develop (this is crucial – the Talent Factory is a mutually-supportive network).
A panel made up of Steve, science communication experts and Talent Factory Year 1 people will decide on the Year 2 membership based on this paperwork and other things we know about you. This means that it’s easier to get into the scheme if you’ve gigged with some of us, or at least had a chat in person. There’s a gig on June 7th for people who’ve not done Science Showoff so that you can do this.
Email email@example.com if you have any questions or would like to know more before applying.
If you applied in year 1 and weren’t selected PLEASE DO TRY AGAIN. Especially if you can show us how you’ve developed in the intervening year.
WHY IS STEVE DOING THIS?
“When I used to work for a university one of the most satisfying parts of the job was helping scientists and communicators develop over time, and I spent seven years working with people who went on to become some of the UK’s most interesting science communicators. As a freelance comedian and producer I miss this, so I thought I’d create a different way to help people in a more intensive way. Plus I’m a Wellcome Trust Engagement Fellow and thought it would be really fun to share the benefits of that with a wider group of people.”
Steve’s time on the Talent Factory this year is financially supported by the Wellcome Trust.
WHAT CAN WE EXPECT?
“One of the great things I’ve found about being in the Talent Factory is the support you get from the rest of the participants. And I don’t mean that in the bland sense of them cheering you on no matter what, although there’s certainly a rock solid base of support. I mean that they’ll push you into performing in ways that you’ve never tried before because they’ll suggest it and hook you into it – for example I didn’t expect to end up on stage imitating a 19th century scientist defending a theory that seemed sound at the time. They’ll pick up on those things that you do on stage that are preventing your work from being the best it can be, and give you ways of improving it. And they’ll do all this while being generally awesome and fun people to work and socialise with too.” – Michael Conterio, Physicist, Talent Factory Year 1