Global Challenge: The English Frankfurt Theatre Internship
English with Creative Writing, 2016
Details of duties/ responsibilities/ activities
Overall, the purpose of my time at The English Theatre was to support the Head of Education and this meant my role was extremely varied. I supported workshops for students aged between 12-25 and teacher workshops. I was also involved in the facilitation of creative events for young people. During these events my roles included assisting stage crew and stage management, encouraging young people and supporting them with their English, contacting external arts organisations, liaising with teachers, acting as a runner during the shows, reading scripts, and undertaking research. During my time at the theatre, I helped lead two large theatre programmes for young people. My purpose within these programmes was, essentially, to ensure that the event ran smoothly. This meant I was responsible for thinking through the practicalities and logistics of the event; writing props lists and sourcing props, helping the students present themselves on a large stage, sourcing food and drink, and moving sets. I was also responsible for editing, researching, and writing teaching materials to be published online.
Supporting workshops with thirty plus students and overcoming the language barrier to interact with them. This experience really tested my communication and leadership skills having to manage a large class and hold everyone’s attention. Having confidence and throwing myself into the workshops, as well as learning some teaching tactics from the other workshop leaders meant I was able to provide the correct support for the students and help them learn something new. At the end of workshops we watched the students perform, they had clearly taken on board what I had taught them, and the thanks that were received at the end of the sessions made it a main achievement. I also created a teacher’s resource pack to be published on the English Theatre’s website, available for all teachers to use. This was a main achievement because it was entirely self-led and a resource to be accessed by all staff, the task held a large amount of responsibility. With the support of the Head of Education, I created new ways of presenting information that had not been done in previous packs, focusing on the ways German children would interpret English text. I found this incredibly interesting and creating the finished document intensely satisfying.
Most enjoyable part of the internship
Aside from being constantly surrounded with live theatre and creative people (which I loved), the thing I enjoyed most was being exposed to a range of roles within the theatre. The benefit of working in a small and intimate theatre like the English Theatre was interacting with every employee there. As well as being exposed to some excellent teaching and learning what goes into coordinating large events with the education team, I shadowed stage management, supported stage crew, and assisted technicians during a glitch in a live show. All of which I didn’t expect to have contact with as I was entering the internship as an education team intern.
Whilst preparing student workshops I developed administration and time management skills
The ability to think creatively, anticipate, negotiate, and solve problems were also skills I developed. I also gained strong mental organisational skills in the critical analysis of tasks to prioritise when supervising forty plus students during large events. Multi-tasking was another essential skill that I developed through having to juggle multiple commitments and still meet set deadlines. Creating the teacher’s resource pack developed my ability to provide creative and design support to a team. Plus, the ability to listen effectively was especially tested and, in turn, strengthened during live shows. I also have strong interpersonal and communication skills, which were tested when I had to convey complex ideas to young people who were new to speaking English. My confidence has also been improved after being thrown into workshops and just by living in a new city.
How this will benefit me in the future
The internship has given me the confidence to perform well in a faced paced environment, something that will be essential when approaching theatres for longer placements and full-time jobs. I have also gained industry knowledge and I am aware how a theatre runs in all different departments. The knowledge and experience gained have given me an understanding of the industry that will be vital when pursuing a career in theatre; this internship will lay the foundations for longer and perhaps full-time experiences now that I have graduated. Working for The English Theatre was particularly clarifying when it came to thinking about the type of theatre and, in general, arts organisation I would hope to work for in the UK. When I was working with the education team, I was involved with lots of programmes that not only encourage visits to the theatre but invited active participation in cultural education and English language practice. Because of this experience, I realised that I want to seek out arts organisations that aim to implement positive change and understand the benefits of cultural education. Whether that be with young people, local communities, or whether it is just the ethos of the organisation as a whole.