My work experience placement by Maisie Bircher
This week I have been at The Courtyard for a work experience placement. I chose to do this in the late spring of this year, when my school began preparing us to apply to workplaces individually.
Immediately I decided that I would apply here, as for 11 years I have been part of the Youth Theatre and have had numerous incredible experiences there, and was already aware of just how welcoming The Courtyard’s atmosphere was.
I made this decision because I have always loved the theatre, and had my heart set on a career within that industry for as long as I can remember.
So far I have been taken on a tour of the whole building, which has allowed me to recognise the entirety of The Courtyard, which performing with various companies had not previously allowed me to do.
Anyone who has not worked at The Courtyard may not be aware of just how little of it they’ve seen. The tasks I’ve completed have been small jobs around the building, assisting with the Marketing department and helping out in Playing Together, which is a workshop The Courtyard hosts in which older people (many from care homes) can be involved in playing with very young children. It is such a pleasant atmosphere, and a beautiful source of positivity. I have also worked on tasks specialised for work experience placements.
When applying for a placement at the Courtyard, I was given the choice of what department I would like to spend most of my time working with, and I chose education, as I understand just how effective The Courtyard’s education department is. My task was to plan a themed summer holiday workshop for children ages 7-11 to attend for 2 days.
For the rest of this week, my schedule includes working a shift for Front of House and stewarding a performance of The Goal, which I am very excited for. I am also assisting with the Courtyard Kids Youth Theatre sessions. My favourite of these tasks so far has been the education tasks, as they have allowed me to appreciate the amount of work and planning that goes into the holiday workshops at The Courtyard.
Something that has definitely surprised me so far is the actual size of The Courtyard, and all of the different areas that go unnoticed by theatre-goers and Youth Theatre members like myself.
Before completing my work experience here I had only been able to see the Garrick Room during Youth Theatre, the foyer, mezzanine and café, the art gallery, the theatre, studio and arts and crafts room. On top of this, the Courtyard is also home to numerous office environments and backstage areas, where much hard work is done. If I had not done work experience here, I doubt I would have ever found this out and been able to appreciate the theatre fully, and I have learnt that the experiences I have had at The Courtyard previously take so much more technical work than I could have ever anticipated.
In conclusion, I would doubtlessly recommend this placement to others, especially those who are thinking of working in the theatre in any way, shape, or form. It is such an involving and educational experience, made highly enjoyable. It has definitely cemented my future career plans for work in theatre, and has opened my eyes to many other options in this industry that aren’t solely performance-related.
If I were to describe my week of work experience at the Courtyard in three words, it would be informative, eye-opening, and exciting.