Tag Archives: work experience

Work Experience is back!

Our work experience blog is back and this week we say hello to Sam who’s going to be giving you an insight in to what goes on behind the scenes at Harrogate Theatre…

Day 1 (Tuesday)

I started the day at the unearthly hour of 10 AM, which, for a holiday, is the middle of the night for me. However I made my way to the Theatre, and was soon being shown around by Hannah. The sheer complexity of the place amazes me; it is, quite literally, a Tardis I think. I have to say, the area above the stage, where all the ropes etc are, is amazing; what a view! I really had no idea that the stage would be so complicated…!

Having found our way back to the office, Hannah set me the task of researching the Blitz and the Great Fire of London for a school workshop she would be running later on. The work took a while, but it was interesting, and I learnt something new; heck it might even come in useful to my A levels!

One o’clock soon came, which meant lunch. One Tesco pasta and a bottle of Appletiser down, and I was back to work. The afternoon saw me working with Rob in marketing; first researching a play (Move over Moriaty) which would be coming to the theatre in the coming weeks, then writing an article on it for the website… an important task for my first day! I’m pretty sure it went well; so it’s all good.

I’m loving the experience of working here, everyone is really friendly, and you can see there’s a really strong family atmosphere going on off stage as well as on it. All in all, a good day.

Day 2 (Wednesday)

Another unearthly rise at 10AM, made all the harder by the somewhat foolish move of a late night… C’est la vie I guess. Anyway one cup of tea and a bit of brekkie, and I was raring to go.

The morning saw me working in marketing again, with Emma this time. I began doing a bit of research for suitable places to send posters, etc. that took most of the morning; it was long work, but I got A LOT done, so it was good. I then moved on to reading the local newspapers, searching for news of the theatre (as well as reading some local news!) the cuttings were then pasted onto dated word documents and filed. Emma took me down to show me the archive, it really was amazing. There was a book of minutes from the 1960’s, all leather bound. It’s great to remember how long the theatre’s been going, and all the work that’s been done below the surface.

A quick bite to eat later (can’t go wrong with a chilli steak lattice…) and I was back to work; this time in operations. Caroline asked me to usher the puppet show, ‘Arabian Nights’… I have to admit I was a tad nervous as people came up, despite it being a smaller audience (in the studio) but it was fine in the end. Everyone sat down; I took a seat at the back and enjoyed the show. I’ve never really seen a puppet show before, apart from a few minutes of some corny ‘Punch and Judy’ at a beach somewhere. This was totally different; done by one guy, he really did bring the stories to life; and although you could see he was operating each puppet, even the minute details like the way a leg bends when someone walks were covered. The stage was very colourful and intricate, and the music and burning incense really gave the stage a sense of authenticity. All in all, despite some reservations, I was impressed. After the show I had a bit of a talk with Caroline about the various duties of an usher; and having e-mailed her before the placement began, signed up to usher voluntarily after the work experience. I get to see the shows, so I’m looking forward to it! And it helps the theatre… So, to sum up, another good day.

Day 3 (Thursday)

Today saw me working with Hannah in education today… had a couple of million newsletters to stuff into envelopes for the HYT, senior and junior groups. It took me most of the morning, but I had a chat with people in the office, and the work went pretty quickly; although folding so many newsletters is a bit wearing on the fingers after a while. Still I had cups of tea, so I was well fuelled!

1 o’clock came; time for a spot of lunch… a nice chicken club sarnie; thank you Greggs, and a homemade sausage roll down, and it was back to work.

The afternoon meant one thing, PRODUCTION! Having seen the fly room on my first day, I was really looking forward to working in production, and seeing what goes on, and I wasn’t disappointed. Before long I was on stage, below stage, above stage, and well, everywhere to be honest. David showed me how to focus all the lights on stage, then how the fly’s worked. Maurice took me through how all the lighting and sound works. I’ve never seen so many wires! ¾ hour down, and my brain started turning to mush, so we stopped for some tea, and discussed amusing incidents the guys had encountered down the years. Back to work; and Maurice continued to explain lighting to me. David was moving lights on stage, on the rails above stage, which meant me and Maurice were moving him about on a sort of ladder on a frame… which to be honest was a bit scary. Never been great with heights, and I was worried David would fall out! He never did though, so it was fine. Long day over, time for home and TV. See you tomorrow!

Day 4 (Friday)

My last day today 😦 … and it saw me working all day with Maurice and David in production again; setting up for ‘Fascinating Aida’… the morning was a little slow to start… we helped someone deliver a piano, and had a chat about how companies organise putting on a show at the theatre. About 11:30 there was a meeting for everyone, which, funnily enough, meant LOTS of bacon sandwiches and coffee (which in my opinion is the only way to hold any meeting- can’t beat a bit of bacon in the morning!)

After that there was a bit of setting up to do, and then lunch. Still full from all the bacon, I just had a stroll around sunny (for once) Harrogate…

Back at 2 o’clock, and the crew for ‘Fascinating Aida’ arrived. From then on it was very busy; we started by unloading the truck, and moving about various pieces of equipment to where they were needed. Then came the setting up of various elements on the fly’s (I won’t tell you what- go see it!!) Lastly we focused all the lighting for the show. This job saw me working the machine that controls all the lights, whilst David, in the scarily tall and slightly unsafe looking ladder on wheels, moved all the lights; and focused them where they were needed. That was fantastic! It was great getting to grips with how all the lighting equipment works, and the various techniques used to focus the lights. I’m sure it’s going to be hugely helpful for my Drama A level, and it’s great to see how things on stage are set up, and all the work that’s done. This week has been really great; it’s opened my eyes to the sheer volume of effort that goes into every production, behind the scenes as well as on stage. It’s also showed me that there’s more to a drama company than actors, and that everyone is important. It’s very much a team effort to do anything here, and I think that sort of environment is what makes it possible to put on the great productions this theatre does. Well, that’s all from me, it’s been great!

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Work Experience – Week Eight

Day 5 – Sarah

Today started at 12pm at the theatre. I met Emily and we made our way up to Marketing where we were asked to label up some posters with the theatre information and dates. It was all cutting and labelling for us for a good hour or two.

Then we began to write up our blogs from the past two days and shortly after we filled in the remaining pages in our work experience log books. This meant we had to go for a wander around the theatre to check what signs were where and why they were used.

Just general health and safety information really. We also had a chat with Hannah about financing and economics as there was a section in our log books to fill out on this and honestly, we didn’t have a clue!

During the afternoon Mr Charlesworth, a teacher from my school, came to check everything had been going okay on placement and we filled in an evaluation sheet with Hannah. Everything seemed okay and Mr Charlesworth was happy with what the theatre staff had set me to and how I had completed it.

I then had an evaluation session with Hannah and we went through all the things I’d done during the week, any changes I’d like to make and generally just good and bad points. When the evaluation was finished I began labelling posters again and finished the day writing my blog.

It’s been a great week at theatre and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the experience. I’ve learnt lots of knew things and met lots of new people. I think I’ll definitely be pursuing a career in this industry.

Thanks to all the team at Harrogate theatre, to Hannah for organising it and making this week such a great one and to Emily for making the week so fun and enjoyable.

As for the theatre itself. It’s not seen the last of me!

Day 5 – Emily

Today we were due in at 12:00, I met Sarah and we went straight up to Marketing and we were asked to label some posters with the dates and information of the shows.  We had to write our blog for Wednesday and Thursday.  We completed our work experience books and evaluated the week.  We went for a wander around the theatre to find out what some of the signs meant.  After that we had a chat with Hannah about the finance and other information that we needed to find out for our booklets.  I then had an evaluation session with Hannah and she asked me a few questions about the week and how they could improve it.  When I finished that I labelled a few more posters and finished that last day by writing my blog.  It’s been a brilliant week and a great experience.  I’ve learnt so much and it has helped me with my career path.  Thank you to all the team at Harrogate Theatre and I’ve enjoyed all the different jobs I’ve had to do…ESPECIALLY Marketing 😉 It was great to meet Sarah!!

Day 4 – Sarah

I came into the theatre at 6pm and met the other volunteer ushers. We were slightly earlier so we all got together and had a coffee and a chat about out day and what we’d been up to.

I was ‘attached’ to another usher so that I wouldn’t be wandering around like a lost sheep all night. We were told the fire drill and then made our way to where we were working. I was in the stalls with Doris.  We checked tickets and showed people to their seats and then sat down and enjoyed the show.

During the interval I sold ice creams, collected rubbish and went to assist the Rabbi in some book signing. I then went back to the stalls and watched the remainder of the show. After the show had finished I collected any left over rubbish, returned glasses to the bar and made sure everyone made their way out of the auditorium and up to the foyer.

I was then free to go. It was an enjoyable night and very different to the other ushering I had done earlier on in the week. This time it was more enjoyable as there was much more to do. I wouldn’t mind doing it again one day. We’ll see.

Day 4 – Emily

Today Sarah and I had a late shift and were due in at 6:30.  We arrived and received our usher badges as we were going to usher a show, Rabbi Lionel Blue.  I met the other ushers who I would be working with and went through the fire procedure and took peoples tickets as they came in.  It was a comedy show and the audience seemed to enjoy it.  At the interval I sold a few ice creams and the Rabbi was signing books.  After the second half I led people to the exit and after everybody had left the building, I went around the circle and picked up any rubbish people left.  It was an interesting evening and a good experience.

Day 3 – Sarah

Today we started at 12. I was taken to the box office while Emily made her way up to marketing. I was shown different data bases that the theatre use to sell tickets and I was then introduced to the mailing list. Many buttons were pressed in my introduction to the box office and keeping up with them was a struggle, I’ll admit. I was set the task to sort through mail that had been sent back to theatre and alter changes so that it could be sent on to where it needed to go. This involved checking the mailing list data base to get people’s numbers, call them up and check their address. By the time I got the hang of it I was taken up to marketing. The box office is a busy and quite stressful place to be and I was glad I didn’t have to stay there all day.

I made our way up to marketing where we met Kevin and Emily. We were asked to sort through some old letters making a pile of old ones and a pile of ones that were still in date or to be used. We assumed the old ones would get thrown away. We were wrong. From the old pile of letters we had to put together a 3 week schedule for theatre. The performances had to include something for; children, adults, senior citizens, adolescents and something experimental. We sat down and got to work separating the letters into different categories, from each pile we then picked a few favourites and began to make a draft of a schedule considering time for lighting and setting up props.

After making a final draft of the schedule we put it into a table on a word document. We were then asked to put together a press release for the schedule listing highlights and reasons for picking each. This also covered the different groups and all the relevant information for the shows.

We printed them out and presented them to Kevin explaining which group shows had been picked for and why we liked them. He was pleased with what we’d put together and perhaps we’ll be getting jobs here soon? After a short break we then packed some envelopes and wrapped them up ready for the post.

A very different day at the theatre. I enjoyed working in the office and seeing what really needed to be done to put shows together it’s interesting, as a dancer/actress, that it’s not all about the opening night. There’s a lot of planning and prep to be done before hand.

Day 3 – Emily

Today our day started at 12:00, so I was able to have a lie in!  As soon as I got there I went straight up to see Kevin to find out about Marketing.  He gave me an introduction of what it involved and the importance of it.  Whilst Sarah was down in the box office I was sorting out some of Kevin’s post, the out of date shows and the shows still to come.  The box office was very busy so Sarah joined me and helped sort through the massive pile of post.  Once we had achieved that we were given a little assignment.  This was to make a 3 week schedule for shows using Kevin’s old post; this was very difficult but a lot of fun.  We had our break and then wrote our schedule up in neat.  We then had to explain why we chose the shows we picked in a press release.  We printed it off and made a cup of tea whilst Kevin read through our report.  He was pleasantly surprised at what we had done and wanted to offer us a job!  Shortly after that we had to put letters about Wind in the Willows into envelopes to members of the theatre.  After a hard working day at the office, we went home.

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 One

Thursday

Today I didn’t work during the day because I had exams, so instead I had a go at ushering for the evening performance of The Importance of Being Earnest. Unfortunately there was only about 100 people watching and the usher told me that you didn’t get the same atmosphere with less people in the audience but I still had a good time. We first got told what to do in case of a fire and how to lead everybody out, and then we showed people to their seats and ripped their tickets but I always forgot where the seat number was on the tickets so it was always a bit frantic! Then we watched the show, I really enjoyed the show and the set looked really effective. I haven’t seen The Importance of Being Earnest before, so it was something new. I got to see all the lighting I’d seen being programmed work and it looked really good. At half time I helped sell ice cream then continued to watch the second half of the show. I enjoyed the night, and enjoyed watching the performance.

Work Experience – Week One

Wednesday

Today was my third day of work experience at Harrogate Theatre, and I spent the day working with marketing. As everybody was in a meeting, I was left little jobs to do. I first typed up the details of some amateur productions that are taking place later in the year for the next Harrogate Theatre brochure. I then helped with some leaflets for Mark Thomas which is showing in Harrogate Theatre next year. In the afternoon I had to write a press release about a new act being announced for the Harrogate Comedy Festival of Simon Amstell which was quite difficult as I didn’t want to get any of the details wrong! I then condensed down my press release into a bulletin for the Harrogate Theatre website but added more adjectives in to advertise the Simon Amstell performance and make sure lots of people buy tickets. Working in marketing I got a chance to see how organised everything had to be and everything that needs to be done in order to put forward productions and make sure people buy tickets.