As part of our Interview series 1, we spoke with Simon Muzolf an academy manager, drum and guitar teacher and set builder. He has been involved in dance and drama from a young age and tells us all about his journey.
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Simon Muzolf and I am the manager at Peppercorns Academy and set builder, anything that needs to be maintained as well. That’s always my department, main role, just sort of managing the company in the building.
How did you get started in the creative industry?
I started off doing some small productions, mainly sort of really for Peppercorns, but also like school productions as well. And also there were some other local dance classes and I used to obviously do their dance classes and then we’d go out on locations. Ended up in some places such as the Royal Albert Hall, Sadler’s Wells, Her Majesty’s Theatre, as well as in obviously doing all of the old school fetes and local events.
And then it sort of progressed from there. Then when I was at school I took GCSE dance and music as well. And unfortunately I sustained a very nasty injury from obviously the years of dancing and so on and so forth and I couldn’t progress further with the career in it so I ended up going
into doing this sort of thing, the creative side of things, the training the coaching and all that sort of stuff.
And that’s where I’ve ended up. So now just basically trying to pass on some sort of knowledge onto the youngsters that wish to do it now and
hopefully further a career in their specified field. My first show was when I was five years old and I think so I would say 30 years I’ve been
involved with Peppercorns but I’ve been working here for about 18 years.
What tips would you give to someone interested in getting into the creative industries?
It depends on what your field is really more than anything. I mean, if you go from the likes of dance and acting and singing the best thing that you can do is find yourself a local class or a teacher or tutor or anything like that. Just to try and see if you can find which field you’re actually interested in.
Just see whether you’ve got the confidence to be able to actually do it first, you know. And if you haven’t got the confidence, stick with it, you know, like build it up. Nobody’s ever going to judge you for what you do. More often than not you tend to find that people praise you for what you do, purely due to the fact that you’re doing something that a lot of people wouldn’t do or don’t feel like they’ve got the confidence to do.
But if you want to do it, give it a go. Like just have a go at it. And it’s the same as anything really. It’s not just about the dancing, the
singing, the acting. It’s also about the technical side of things as well, like the lighting, designing, sound engineering, set building, all that sort of thing.
I tend to find that when I’m at my most creative is when I’m building sets. Pick up a drill, like give it a go. Have somebody watch you. Look over somebody. Watch people what they’re doing all the time. Shadow people. Like if you want to do the technical designing and stuff like that, sit with the technical designer and just sort of see what he or she does. What knowledge they can pass on to you. But don’t ever be afraid to try something.
And now in the day that we’re in, there’s a lot of help on hand online, like as in YouTube videos. Even the local guys are quite willing to help.
Don’t ever be afraid to ask. And don’t just think that you’ve got to do it yourself. But to be creative, you have to be creative. Like actually get yourself a drill, get a screwdriver, pick up a saw give it a go.
Obviously be careful. But the fact of the matter is that you’re never going to know unless you do. And that’s my one biggest bit of advice is just try it. And then you live with no regrets. You’ll always find out that you’ll go “Okay, actually I was a lot better than I thought”, then you progress it from there on. Okay, that bit’s not for me. Yeah, at least you know. That’s the main thing.