During the time I spent teaching, one of the biggest areas I missed about the sound industry was the opportunity to network. It seemed to me that the drawing together of like-minded souls was one of life’s joys and I was missing out whilst in the classroom. Any chance for a course or extra CPD and I was there like a shot! It has to be said, we as sound engineers are particularly good at creating opportunities to get together and share experiences. And of course, this is the best way to pick up new ideas and expand our horizons.
Last week our Opera House received a touring production of West Side Story. The sound department were from a UK touring background and our team took great pleasure in exchanging stories and experiences. For some of us this reflection reminded us where we had come from and how lucky we are to be involved in such a diverse career.
With this in mind, the Soundgirls Chapter of Muscat have started preparing for a workshop to promote the mission statement and to introduce the audio profession to a new, keen and eager audience. It will be run at a local music school- The Classical Music and Arts Institute in area of Muscat called Qurum. General Manager, Thanae Pachiyanakis, a seasoned singer and teacher herself is keen to encourage young girls (particularly musicians) to take an interest in sound for performance.
Thanae and I first met last year during one of the Opera House’s ‘Open days’. These days are incredibly popular and involve local bands, handicraft and art exhibitions and local school children. It all takes place in the spectacular front of house area. Several porches lend themselves to small staged areas for performers and tables are set up for art work. We set up PA systems for the bands, projectors and playback in each area as required.
It wasn’t until another chance meeting at an ‘Internations’ event that Thanae and I got chatting. We realised that although from totally different backgrounds and different experiences of the industry we were passionate about very similar causes. Hence the start of the Soundgirls chapter in Oman!
Despite a relatively small arena for audio networking Thanae and I have proved that no matter how remote you are feeling, there is always someone who will share your enthusiasm and passion. The support and encouragement we are able to offer each other is immeasurable. So next time you feel alone, know you are not. If you look hard enough there is always someone to lean on.
Clare Hibberd: Clare is a Senior Sound and Broadcast Technician at the Royal Opera House, Muscat. Her blog will focus on resilience and adaptation as a woman in the sound industry including past and present challenges with working abroad.
About Clare: Clare gained her first class bachelors degree at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. Her career has taken her all over the world, working on some of the most successful (and not so successful) musical theatre productions to come out of the West-End. With the added bonus of recently completing a post graduate teaching certificate, she is now looking to implement teaching and learning programmes for Omani technical trainees as part of a wider Omanisation strategy.