For my week of work experience, I decided to come to the Contact Theatre, which Keisha (Creative Producer for Contact Youth Company) kindly organised for me; thank you so much Keisha!! I first heard about the Contact Theatre when performing here in November 2016 as a part of Shakespeare Schools Festival (hello to Yvette who did the tech for my school’s play!). I wanted to go to a theatre for work experience because I am very passionate about theatre and performing arts, and I thought that it would be really interesting to see and experience the other side of the creative industry, as opposed to performing in a production. The Contact Theatre has given me just that. I have learnt so much about how all the different departments work together to run the building, and it has given me such a great insight about the whole process in the industry, as well as gaining different kinds of experience and learning different things in each of the departments I have been working in throughout the week.
From being in creative development on Monday, I have learnt what the role of a theatre producer is and gained a brilliant experience of what a theatre producer’s day-to-day work would entail. I also sat in on the ‘Monday Drop’ session available at the Contact Theatre for young people, where I watched their performances for the RAW (Rhythm and Words) event that was happening that night, and was asked to give any notes that I had on their performance. It was really nice to be able to help others and give them advice on their work. Your performances were all brilliant so well done if you are reading this!
On Tuesday, I was in finance; it was really interesting to see the various programmes that are used to record all the different types of invoices, and it was surprising to see the huge amount of them that the finance team are responsible for and have to manage, from the fixing of equipment costs to the purchase of a pack of batteries. Strangely, I found working in finance really therapeutic, as organisation is quite a big part of it!
Working in the box office and marketing (Wednesday and Friday) was also really interesting as, at the Contact Theatre, they are closely linked. I think that this is a really good idea as it allows the staff to be in close contact with the sales and advertisement of productions, as well as contacting the press about them. It was, again, a surprise to see how much has to be taken into account when looking at the publication of shows and seeing that the public know exactly when they are, where they are and why you should go to see it; this was a huge eye-opener about how much thought went into the advertisement of productions.
Finally, I worked in programming on Thursday, which was really beneficial when understanding the different contracts between theatre companies and the Contact Theatre that exist, and how productions are brought into the theatre to perform whilst on tours, etc. It was also really nice to be able to watch and feedback on a fantastic play that is potentially going to be performed at the Contact Theatre next season, so I can’t wait to see if it will be brought in! I was also working in front of house shadowing the duty manager on Thursday, which was really nice when checking that the theatre is still intact, running smoothly and that everyone is okay; I am going to be shadowing hosts at the event ‘One Mic Stand’ tonight (Friday) as another part of front of house, which will hopefully be as interesting as the rest of my week has been! If you are going to the event tonight, see you later and I hope that you enjoy the show!!
I have absolutely loved my time here on work experience at the Contact Theatre, and I would love to come back and watch shows/take part in groups in the future. All the staff have been so kind, welcoming and helpful, and if anyone is thinking of doing work experience here I would definitely recommend it!
Thank you for making it so enjoyable and interesting, and not just getting me to make cups of tea!