Before I came to ATC I was in a ‘fuzzy’ phase, the one that any soon-to-be graduate experiences at one point or another. Having spent the last three years in Liverpool doing a degree in Stage Management, I felt I needed to know something other than the rehearsal room and backstage area; I wanted to know what really goes on behind the office door. I was eager to learn more about theatre management, and wanted to utilise my organisational and management skills in a different capacity to become a better-rounded professional.
On the off chance of trawling through twitter, I came across the ad for the Administrative Placement. It seemed like the perfect opportunity, a ‘free education’ to gain a hands on experience and learn what theatre administration involves, whilst being in the centre of London. My housemates called me crazy; I had an offer of paid work but more than anything wanted to take this internship. I hadn’t worked on international work before, and ATC seemed to have the perfect artistic stance to compliment this desire. Within a few days, I had said goodbye to my life as a student, and hello to London’s West End. Being based in Liverpool for the last three years, I didn’t know London, and have subsequently spent many of my lunch breaks blending in amongst the throng of tourists whilst getting lost (I’m not great with maps).
Nothing quite prepares you for being an intern. You assume it will be the clichéd tasks of making coffee, photocopying and running errands, which to some extent it is. Yet, it can be so much more. Ania and Tiru have been great mentors, and I have learnt so much from them. Whether it was putting together marketing packs, creating freesheets or writing fundraising applications, to the logistics of organising an international tour, press nights and test runs of experimental work. Yes, I have done those ‘typical intern tasks’ like re-organising cupboards, filing and archiving, but every job is part of something in a bigger picture, and you have to start somewhere. Working with a small team meant that I was able to work in every aspect of the life of the company. I’ve learnt how everyone’s work contributes to the overall mission, and how important the little details can be.
You can’t underestimate the value of an internship. Working for free is hard, but you gain something in return that can be invaluable. ATC has given me the knowledge and confidence that I needed to take my career that next step further. It has forced me to open my eyes to new avenues and possibilities within the industry and for my own career that I perhaps never would have considered before, whilst also reinforcing my love of stage management. As a graduate you feel a certain amount of pressure to know where you want to go next, but in the wise words from Tiru, ‘it’s highly overrated’. The beauty of this experience is that I have now become open to endless opportunities and I am considering a career path that I hadn’t considered for myself when doing my degree. I am rediscovering what I like and don’t like whilst engaging in new things and the many art forms and platforms available in a beautiful industry.
Former ATC intern and immensely promising graduate