During the first morning of my work Experience at Harrogate Theatre, I was given ‘the grand tour’ by Hannah Draper which I found very interesting. She had something interesting to say about almost every room and showed me just how friendly and welcoming everyone was.
I soon was given my first task of running through the whole script of ‘Wind in the Willows’ and writing down every prop needed for the play. Although this sounds like a big job, I enjoyed this task as the play was one of my favourites as a child, and I experienced what must be done before every play is brought to life. Hannah was delighted that I had finished the whole script in exactly two hours, and I knew from then on, I was really going to enjoy this week!
In the afternoon, I was in the marketing department. I soon discovered that this is, perhaps one of the most difficult jobs needed to keep this theatre running. My task was to label and put letters into envelopes, not forgetting the stamping!! (That, of course, was the best part.) After finishing that I typed up addresses and company names of places where the Theatre was involved with. It was interesting to see how many places the Theatre needed to contact!
After my first day, I realised I was very tired, but was very much looking forward to the rest of the week.
I was very curious indeed to see what skills were required to run the box office… and I soon found out it was a very hard, but rewarding job. I first had to type up codes for the new token system being introduced to selling the tickets… I’ve never been fond of typing just numbers… but after that session, I can proudly announce that my number typing skills have greatly improved!
I was then shown how to use the computer system, which was scary because my first practice was with a customer, (who was very kind and patient with me!) I noticed a lot of different stages were needed to sell just one ticket, and that the customer was asked quite a few questions in the process. Overall, I found the people very welcoming in the box office, and I enjoyed learning not only how to sell the tickets, but learning new skills to help the public.
That afternoon, I was back up in the marketing office, helping label 595 letters. I actually enjoyed this task… it was rather relaxing after I got into it… and soon the stack of envelopes seemed to shrink rather quickly.
I arrived at 6pm and was met by the lighting and sound technician (of ‘Blithe Spirit’) . I was excited to see how the whole show went together on a larger scale to that of the recent play I had performed in at school. I knew vaguely what to expect but I still feel it was a new experience due to the fact I listened through a set of ‘cans’ and heard all the cues called by the person at the back of the stage. It was then, very fascinating to see how everything was so slick and well timed. Thanks to my opportunity to see from a ‘backstage point of view.’
For the third and final act of the play, I was allowed backstage to see the actors and all the action! Of course, I didn’t dare talk to the actors as they were very busy and needed to concentrate, but a smile from the ‘ghost Elvira’ was enough to please me. To top the evening off, I helped to destroy the stage! (I shall explain…) In case you have not seen the play, the last scene involved books flying of the shelves and onto the floor. This, of course, needs the action of those backstage to push the lever which gives the impression of a violent, angry spirit loosing control. I also was offered to push another piece of wood which caused a whole shelf to collapse. I enjoyed this immensely because as a young girl, I have always been keen to know what happened backstage. (I’d like to say this was the highlight of my work experience, although I thoroughly enjoyed every minute here.)
Again, I arrived in the front of the Theatre at 6pm and looked forward to my task of ushering. I had a fun time taking tickets for the public and telling them which door they should go through, and was extremely tempted to see what’d happen if I told them the wrong door. I behaved myself, however and only made one mistake. (I said right instead of left), but everyone was understanding and I got on with all the ushers I met.
I consider myself mathematically challenged, and therefore was slightly nervous about selling the ice creams due to the fact I have never been sure about handing out change. However, I surprised myself (it’s really not that hard, after all…) and enjoyed standing next to the cold fridge… we were all very hot that night. Thanks to my ‘ice cream selling skills’ I will never have to ask what flavours there are at Harrogate Theatre ever again!
Today is my last day and as soon as I arrived, I sat down to write this review. I am in marketing again for the rest of the day, and look forward to whatever is being offered to me.
I have really enjoyed my work experience and would like to thank everyone for helping me, showing me many aspects of how the Theatre is run and for making me feel very welcome here. I can fully appreciate future shows being performed in Harrogate, not only for the acting skills, but because I know how much effort and dedication has been put into every department of the Theatre. I am grateful to have been given the opportunity to see behind the scenes and understand how everything comes together to make a wonderful performance on stage.