Lisa Duffy, Creative Director, Bright Young Things

THIS week’s My Kind of Job is Lisa Duffy

What’s your job?

Founder and creative director of Bright Young Things Drama

How did you get there?

I was working as an actor and latterly a primary school teacher in London from 2003 until 2010 and was increasingly affirmed of children’s absolute need for creativity and play in order to learn and grow. It struck me that I had a very unique set of skills, bridging both the arts and education industries and could make a huge impact on the lives of young people and so Bright Young Things was born.

Do you have a typical working day?

No. I don’t think anyone who runs their own business has two days that are the same because you wear so many hats – finance, training, marketing, research and development and the list goes on. And that’s just when I am not in a workshop. Any one day I might start the morning in a dress and high heels and by the afternoon its leggings, trainers and rolling round the floor!

What qualifications do you have?

I studied first at Queens University, completing a BA Hons in Drama. I then successfully auditioned for the world-renowned London Academy of Music and Drama Art where I received a BA in Classical Acting. I am also a qualified primary school teacher with a PGCE AT Roehampton University and taught in London for a number of years.

What other skills do you need in your role?


What’s the best thing about your job?

The breakthrough moments. It could be a three year old who has struggled to say their name out loud in the group who finally owns it and feels 10 feet tall or a 16 year old who voices their opinion with passion and clarity in a creative debate and you can see they feel at home here. This is without doubt the best thing about my job.

And the worst?

Juggling. I call it a ‘creative mind’ but really, I am just not very good at getting my ducks in a line. There never seems to be enough time in the day to get anything done to the quality I want. I take this too personally and find it hard to switch off and end up having a poor work/life balance. Again, I think this is true for all business owners.

What do you think are the greatest challenges/pressures of the job?

Finding the right people. What we provide at BYT is so dependent on the right team and the right training. We engage a range of wonderful freelance creatives and educational specialists, however people with this expertise can be hard to find. Drama Facilitation is not the kind of job you find advertised in the jobs section.

Lisa Duffy, Creative Director, Bright Young Things

What did you want to be when you were at school?

An Actor. And I followed that passion like a dog with a bone and was lucky enough to work as an actor for many years in London and here in Belfast. For a while, I juggled both my acting career and BYT but eventually the reward and achievements I felt through my work at BYT just overshadowed the acting work and consumed me. I would still like to free up some time for acting roles again in the next few years.

What advice would you give someone considering a career in your profession?

Drama facilitation is a career built through experience and training here in Northern Ireland rather than the more conventional route to employment of doing a degree and then applying for a job. I would advise anyone who would like to get into drama facilitation to do as much work experience and go on as many training courses as possible.

What’s the most common question people ask when they find out what you do?

Where do you get your energy? Yes, that’s the other thing you need when working with young people in a creative setting – energy by the bucket load!

How do you like to relax outside work?

Walks, dinners out and in and time with family and friends. What could be better?

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