Living wage in the West End?
Going global to get local

Stage is set for a brave new world

Article from the Nottingham Evening Post - Monday 17 March - and its all about me!


17 March 2008

While some computer experts talk in techno-babble, Caron-Jane Lyon knows how to explain things simply. She has combined her life  in the theatre with new IT skills to help boost the arts online. After a degree in theatre design and technology, Caron, 35, started work as a stage manager, where she sourced props for productions. She regularly found herself using computer techniques like Photoshop for paper-based props.

Whenever money's needed on stage, for example, you need to design notes that look realistic but couldn't get you into trouble if an audience member picked one up and tried to spend it."I loved the creativity and ingenuity in this part of the job, but the further up the ladder you go in most industries, the bulk of your work ends up being admin." Having moved around the country as a freelancer, Caron was about to accept a role with the Royal Shakespeare Company - that would entail more travelling - when she decided to put down roots.

Caron's partner was based in Nottingham, so she moved to the city and started temping. Working for Boots, Caron realised she had unsung talents. "I had this wealth of IT knowledge that I didn't know I had. I arrived as an admin temp and within a week I realised my photoshop skills were pretty good, and I thought, 'Maybe I'm on to something here'," she said.

Caron took a course in web design in Newark and it set her thinking about how she could help people in her former profession. "In the theatre you often have no contact with IT, some clients I deal with don't even have e-mail addresses. It's 'IT shy' people in the arts that need IT direction and I realised I could offer that."

PCM Creative has existed in name since 1995, but with help from Nottinghamshire Business Venture, Caron launched the firm as a full-time concern last October. She embarked on the New Entrepreneur Scholarship (NES) with NBV. The NES programme was set up to support successful and sustainable businesses.

Based at her home in Sneinton, Caron creates online presences for organisations - in the form of websites, Facebook groups, blogs, MySpace pages and YouTube clips - helping them use social networking tools to find new customers.

Caron has worked with Pilot Theatre company, holding conferences in online world Second Life - making Caron the first virtual stage manager.

Liz Yeatman, NES project manager for NBV said: "Caron is making a fantastic success of her business. The NES programme enables people like Caron to acquire the skills they need to start a business venture."