The Intern Experience

The Intern Experience

First thing’s first: working for ATC was an education. And I’m not just saying that. No, really… Nobody works for free, not really. If you’re interning unpaid, you should be getting skills and experiences you would not otherwise have, from people you may not otherwise have met, in areas that you knew far less about that you do now. You also have to know what it is you’re after, what you’re looking to learn, what skills you’d like to come out with. Interning with ATC gave me all of these things, plus a few extras. When I came across the advert for the Administrative Assistant position at ATC, I was struck by two things: first, was the fact that the role actually covered a whole breadth of responsibilities and second, because it focussed on theatre outside of the UK. The thing about ATC is that it works somewhat like an artistic version of the Tardis in Doctor Who. Based inside a small box on the top floor of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, the core team is made up of just four people whose combined energy produces work that hails from and travels across the world (and occasionally time and space). Despite outward appearances, they are bigger on the inside.

What I wanted from my internship, was to understand how a professional theatre company functioned day to day and project to project. Being the Admin Assistant to a small team meant that I was helping to support everyone and was actively involved in the company’s work, rather than being stuck, endlessly stuffing envelopes. Providing support to everyone, meant learning (sometimes even understanding) what everyone did and how it contributed to the company’s overall work. Over the course of three months I learnt; how shows were marketed and promoted, especially online; the information, pitches and applications that the Development Manager had to put together in order to keep the company funded; what production support and preparation was required for national tours; what requirements the Arts Council had of a company that was part of the National Portfolio; what research went into creating new work and finding new places for it to go to. On top of this, being myself of mixed heritage, it was incredibly interesting to see how a UK based company collaborated with international artists and took each other’s influences in order to create work that is entirely unique.

I should mention that I also felt incredibly welcome and embraced into the fold by Nick, Ramin, Ania and Tiru. This was my first ever internship and I felt a little overwhelmed to be there and slightly intimidated by the whole prospect of joining the professional theatrical world. Ania, the company Administrator and the person in charge of me, was nothing but supportive, encouraging and open with an impeccable dress sense. Tiru was happy to answer any questions I had on how to raise money in order to put on a show, talk me through funding applications and to discuss the pros and cons of a bow-tie/leather jacket combo. Both Ramin and Nick were incredibly generous, allowing me to sit in on and take part in workshops and rehearsals. I was always included and my opinion asked and I now often point out smugly that I sourced the poster image for The Events.

Ultimately, my goal is to run the company that I have co-founded, Youaremine, in a professional capacity. The work that we make is very different to that of ATC’s but I feel that the foundations and the requirements to make it function are very similar, if not the same. Working at ATC has certainly opened me up and got me interested in what is happening theatrically over the channel and how my own heritage can influence my work. And although we are currently contenting ourselves with the International Youth Arts Festival, an international tour is definitely on the bucket list. Which, brings me back to my original point, that my time with ATC, both practically and artistically, was an education.

Chi-San Howard
Admin Intern, ATC