Category Archives: work experience

Six Week Placement

This week Declan, a university student, joined us for a six week placement. He started by doing our carousel programme where he spent time with each department. In future weeks he will work intensively with Production and Marketing. Here’s his blog from week one…

Monday 10th – Friday 14th May

The first week of the 6 week placement (a rare length of time for the theatre) has gone by surprisingly quickly in my view. It seems to have taken no time at all to reach Friday.

Monday began the week at 10 a.m. with Hannah for the basic induction to the Theatre and finding my way around the building. It’s a lot larger than it looks on the outside of the building and there are plenty of rooms to get lost in if you don’t know your way.

Following this the rest of my day was taken up by work with the production team in and around the stage. Due to the show being set up for having a surprisingly small set the workload for the day was considerably small and the majority of the work had been done before I had even arrived to help. However the production team was very pleasant I was put to work on any task that was available, and the tedious projector took up a lot of time anyway to make perfect. Following lunch the rest of the day was taken up with setting up the safety harness that was to be used in the production for a hanging scene that was to take place in the show. For safety reasons it eliminated a significant amount of the afternoon testing it on the actor who was to wear it to make sure it was comfortable and more importantly secure and reliable.

By finishing time at 5 p.m. everything that could be done was done.

Tuesday started off in the afternoon at 1.30 p.m. in the Box Office with Kerry where she and the other staff introduced me to the ticket system and following a few slowly taken sales I began to get the hang of the procedure and fly solo. Though custom was slow which was rare according to the other Box Office staff, the staff itself were very fun and the banter between everyone helped to pass the time and before I knew it, it was lunch.

On returning, the rest of the evening was taken up with Hannah doing education with her youth drama classes that she does with students after school hours have passed. I observed as she taught vocal training and fun improvisational activities to 2 different classes of students who were very eager to take part.

An 8.30 finish for me and the last class of students saw the end of another very interesting working day.

Rescheduling my Wednesday evening work for front of house to the following week gave me the day off on the Wednesday which was a nice surprise. However it was back to work for an 11 a.m. start on the Thursday with Rob in Marketing.

The task for the day could not have been simpler for me, preparing the outgoing mail/leaflets that were to be sent out to all the patrons of the theatre, the majority of which was simply filling envelopes with all the leaflets of upcoming shows to attract more people to come to the theatre more often. A dauntingly long process yes but the chat going on around me passed the time and the work did in truth give me plenty to do even when not very complicated and hardly challenging. Sometimes trouble-free work can be a good thing.

Following that jobs eventual completion after my break, I was asked to set up the 60 or so seats to be used in the studio for the choir to use later in the evening and set out all the name cards for everyone, etc so everything was prepared for their arrival.

By the end of this another day was done and once again in much quicker time than I had anticipated at 5 p.m.

The final day of the week started off with another 10 a.m. start alongside Hannah on education however this time doing a much more computer based job than observing youth drama. After lunch I spent the rest of the day once again working with Rob in Marketing. I was given the task of doing market research of local companies that specifically work with the deaf and blind community in order to find if they provide information useful to these people, for example, offering information on entertainment from companies such as Harrogate Theatre that specifically caters for their particular needs.

As well as this I was to find possible companies that would be able to distribute information stating the services that the theatre has through leaflets available for distribution.

After completing my research I looked over my findings and attempted to contact some of the organizations but to no avail unfortunately. However I found the info needed and presented it before I finished for the day and thus completed my first of the 6 weeks.

Work Experience – Week Six

Monday

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.

Tuesday

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.

Wednesday

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.)

Thursday

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!

Friday

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.

Work Experience – Week Five

Day 1: In the morning I was given a tour around Harrogate Theatre by Hannah but I was already quite familiar because I was in the last panto which was Cinderella. So I did think I couldn’t learn anything else but to my surprise there was a lot I hadn’t seen before.  In the afternoon I spent my afternoon in marketing and had the very hard task of sticking letters on envelopes and then putting the letters inside and actually didn’t realise how long it would take but I did manage it even if I was quite boring, but I suppose it was a typical office job. I was so nervous about coming in but everybody was so friendly and made me feel like I had been there for ages.

Day 2: Today, I spent my morning in marketing again and finished preparing the letters. Then I spent my afternoon with production and help set Wuthering Heights and Maurice did show me all the lights which were very interesting. I was able to see all the problems that the production team got and realised that I could not put up with all that moaning, even though I probably moaned more than everyone put together. Maurice showed me all the different types of lights used in the productions.

Day 3: Today, I spent my whole day in production, I was able to watch an interview with the main cast and help with the lights which gave me a bigger knowledge of the whole stage but unfortunately missed the morning. I was able to see the fly floor but was too scared to stay up there for long because as I found out I am scared of heights. All the production team were friendly although Maurice did suggest that I carry a piano down to under the stage, so I wasn’t impressed but I think he realised that he had asked a girl to carry a massive piano and quickly told me that he would do it. After showing me all the lights yesterday, we now had to cut the colours for the lights for the next production but because of this I was able to see the amount of effort that was put in.

Day 4: I spent the afternoon in the box office, this was probably the hardest thing I had to do because I was very nervous using the ticket system but soon got the hang of it. Then I spent the evening front of house as an usher. I was able to watch the fantastic Bollywood performance of Wuthering Heights. At the interval I was able to do the hard task of selling ice-cream which made me giggle :). The entire usher’s were really nice to me and I enjoyed being in charge of the public, although to my sadness they were all very well behaved.

Day 5: Today was my last day 😦 but I spent it in communications and was able to enter databases and look through magazines to see if there were any pieces on Harrogate Theatre. I was then let for lunch early 🙂

Then I had my evaluation with Hannah and all my comments were very good 🙂

Work Experience – Week Four

Friday

Last day. 😦  I am sad to leave as it has been a really fantastic experience. Today I was in the marketing department and I had the task of writing a press release, I really enjoyed researching and writing it as I had never done one before. I asked Katy to take a look at it whilst I was part way through, to check I was doing it right, she was really encouraging. After I had completed it, Katy printed it out for me to go through and check it. We printed out the final piece and it is going to be sent off! I was then with Hannah in the afternoon and we discussed my time here and went through a booklet which she gave me on the first day. I have learnt so many new things about the theatre and how it works and overall have learnt new skills which I will take with me for the rest of my life. It has been a privilege to be able to work with such lovely people. It’s a shame that I have to leave but I know that I won’t leave the theatre behind forever, I would love to work here and my experience has taught me that it is a career that I am very interested in.

Thanks to everyone who I have worked with in the past week for your time and dedication and experience. I have fully enjoyed my time here.

Work Experience – Week Four

Thursday

My birthday! Everyone was so lovely and wished me happy birthday. I was again working in marketing and was given envelopes to stuff and complete what I was doing yesterday. It was Clifford’s last day so we all went into the green room and enjoyed tea, coffee and cake, to thank him for his time and devotion towards the theatre and to wish him luck for the future. I then went back to the office and carried on stuffing the envelopes. At 1pm it was time for my break, I went round the shops and ate my lunch, looking forward to production work in the afternoon. There were four groups who needed to rehearse, once they had finished it was time to go home. It’s my last day tomorrow unfortunately.

Work Experience – Week Four

Monday

On my first day I was really excited to get started. I asked for Hannah at the box office but there were a lot of noisy children in the way. David then spotted me and asked if I was Nicole, I said yes and Hannah came to collect me. Hannah showed me around the theatre and took me to all the different departments; she introduced me to various people who I would be working with during the week. I found it really interesting but in the back of my head was trying to remember where everything was so that I wouldn’t get lost. We then took the children to the studio for where they would be held later that night for their performance. We printed off some certificates to hand to the children on stage after their performance although we had to come into a different office as it wouldn’t all fit onto one page. Once the four were all printed we rolled them up tied a ribbon around them to make them look even more appealing. We then kept guiding the children to where they needed to be for the rest of the day. It was quite loud in the corridors where the children where as they were so exited! Bless them. I was then able to watch their performances and Lizzie and I kept taking them back to the auditorium and so on, I watched the various performances until half nine they were really good and made me see the magic of the theatre. I had a really good day and was looking forward to the next!

Tuesday

I was raring to go. I was working in the box office; it was fun but hard to get the hang of as each customer wanted different things. I answered some calls and also made one. I kept doing it wrong but hopefully I got the hang of it during the end. In the afternoon I was excited about working in production. David showed me around and told me how everything came together. He took me to the fly room and there were a lot of ropes all connected. During performances they had to be pulled in order for the poles attached in order to move. David let me feel the weight of them and they were so much heavier to what I imagined. I was then introduced to Martin who was in charge of lighting and sound. He showed me how to get different types that would help to make a performance even better. There was a load of different controls and they looked really confusing. He made it look easy! ‘Company’ came to rehearse. The choreographer told Martin how she wanted the lights etc. I then watched their rehearsal and witnessed how it all came together. The day went really fast which is a good sign! And it was time to leave. Yet another exciting day!

Wednesday

I was working with Rob, Kevin and Emma in the marketing department. I got given a load of envelopes and had to stick different addresses on each one. I thought I had finished but I had just run out of envelopes! Therefore I got handed some more. Once I had completed them I was told to put an advertisement in each one informing them about the “Hyena Comedy Club”. Everyone was really nice and made me laugh so much I cried. I had never laughed and cried before! In the afternoon I was working in the production department again. I came across Martin and we later watched the rehearsal ‘Peter Pan’ they were really cute and had no nerves to say they were so young! Another school was due to rehearse but they were still on a school trip therefore we absent, the choreographer told Martin what she wanted and he would have to fit it around the real thing when they performed later on.

Work Experience – Week Three

Friday (Hugh)

In the box office again, this time where I was supposed to be. Again, quite enjoyed it, served a few customers, put a few things on the computer and generally learned more about the booking system. After my lunch break had a kind of plenary with Hannah, just talked about how work experience was for me, asking if there was anything to improve. I then finished my synopsis of Wind in the Willows, had some cake and went home.

Work experience at Harrogate Theatre has been loads of fun. I’ve learnt loads about theatre and it’s really helped me in my career choice. A freelance actor is not the easiest profession, 95% are unemployed, but I think, with a bit of luck and the knowledge I’ve learnt, I can go far.

If you are considering a career in any aspect of theatre, I would recommend work experience at Harrogate Theatre; it really is a great choice.

Friday (India)

Today I did marketing after writing up my blog. There were the dates printed off for when ‘the big Chris Barbera band’ is on. I had to cut, and stick the prints on to posters. Then I went for a break. When I came back I wrote an evaluation for the weeks experience and spoke to Hannah about it too. Then in the last half an hour I carried on with marketing.

Overall, this week has been a very good work experience for me and I am glad I chose to come here. I have enjoyed meeting new people who are all very friendly; I got on well with some of them. The experience has made me gain a bit more confidence within myself towards others and helped me with things that are useful to some subjects that I do; media studies and English. I think yesterday was my favourite day that I have had this week; I also enjoyed marketing a lot and was interested in how the lighting desk works.