Work experience is a great way for pupils to find out more about all the team involved at the Barn Theatre that work on productions and keep the theatre running. Their week finished with writing a blog summarising their time spent at the theatre. Read about their experience below.
Having our work experience at the Barn Theatre was really interesting because, when you see a show, you instantly associate it with the director and the actors, but what a lot of people are oblivious to is the people working in the office, increasing the ticket sales, the designers, and the producer. This week, we experienced all of this, which really opened our eyes to the behind the scenes of how a show is put on.
For the first day, both of us were eager to start whilst wondering how it was going to work. We quickly found that, even though this team is small, it has a complex system with each person having a specific job, that without one of them, the Barn Theatre wouldn’t be as successful as it is today. We were given our first task to find tourist attractions near Cirencester to put up advertisement for the upcoming shows including ‘The 39 Steps’.
On Tuesday we moved on to producing ideas of advertisement and strategies to do so. We learnt that there is a specific order to structure ideas which resulted in us making effective tactics of advertisement to encourage customers to buy tickets. We were shown the busy schedule of marketing where everything was colour coded to show if it was outstanding or already finished. After that, we met Jamie the producer and did a mock practical where we chose the next show that Barn Theatre would put on. This was very engaging as it was quite hard to choose an appropriate musical for The Barn Theatre to be physically able to put on. It put us in the shoes of a producer who has had to do this for previous shows at the Barn Theatre.
Throughout the week, the comedy adaption of ‘The 39 steps’ was being rehearsed so we were lucky enough to watch the actors and the director in action. We watched the technical rehearsals and also watched from the wings, helping the stage manager with props. This viewpoint from the wings differed greatly from watching from an audience seat, as we could see how the actors and the stage managers had to work quickly and efficiently backstage to make the show run smoothly and allow the audience members to enjoy it. We learnt how they help actors get changed quickly at the side of stage, making the 140 costume changes happen seamlessly.
On Wednesday, we worked with a computer, editing videos of the actors that may be later put on social media or the website enticing people to watch the show. I think we learnt a lot from this as we worked with technology that we had never used before. This was new and exciting for us both. We also learnt how to clean camera lenses carefully so not to damage them which was another skill we developed that we had never utilised before.
On Thursday morning, we worked with the fundraisers who write persuasive letters to trusts asking for money that is sometimes used to allow those who don’t have the privileges to go to the theatre. We thought this is a lovely idea and it also showed that you don’t need to be able to sing, dance or act to be part of the arts industry. Later that day we designed some different types of merchandise and learnt how tickets were sold by the box office. The Barn Theatre doesn’t have much merchandise currently on offer, only programs to buy of the shows that have been put on. More merchandise has been considered as it may bring in more profit and allow customers to leave with a small token or memory of the show that they went to see.
Our last day was Friday where we were taught about the importance of emails to advertise upcoming shows. We also talked to the designer and the costume maker for The 39 Steps. This was another insight into the creative side of theatre, talking to the designers of the set and the costumes.
We feel so lucky to spend our enrichment week here at the Barn Theatre. We definitely learnt a lot in this new working environment and we really loved it here. I would recommend this for any year 10 looking for a place to do work experience at. Everyone was really welcoming, and it has given me my first experience of working life.