Volunteering at The Courtyard – Guest Blog by Owain Denning

Owain Denning, 15, is a junior volunteer steward attached to The Courtyard’s front of house team. He is a year 10 pupil at St Mary’s RC High School, Lugwardine

I needed to find a volunteering role for six month as part of my Duke of Edinburgh Bronze Award requirements and, having attended lots of great shows and films at The Courtyard, thought this would make a really interesting and rewarding job.

So stewarding, is it a fun job? Definitely – I may have only been working at The Courtyard for two months but the experiences that I’ve had there so far have been unforgettable. On my first evening, 16th March 2015, I was introduced to the stewarding team for the evening and the front of house manager for that evening Alex Evans (who has the same name as my best friend from junior school so easy to remember!). They all seemed very happy to be stewarding and I’d like to thank them for making me feel welcome on my first night as I was a bit nervous.

Alex took me on a tour of the building that evening, studying all the corridors throughout the building and where they eventually end. I found this really interesting – I remember when I was about eight years old and my mum had just began working there, I always dreamed of being able to access anywhere in the building and find out where all the slightly spooky interior corridors went.

The four evenings that I have volunteered so far have also been very enjoyable: I have met all sorts of different people when stewarding and selling ice creams to the public as well. I love meeting new people and talking to them, finding out what they enjoyed about a performance or film.

One of the best experience I have would be when Alex let me do an announcement over the tannoy at Box Office. “Why?”, simply because of knowing people are listening to you – an infrequent occurrence when trying to persuade your parents about something – but also because once I’d made the announcement, the odd person came up to me and said, “Was it you who just made that announcement?” I enjoy making announcements because, one day, I’d like to become a newsreader for the BBC or Sky News. A ‘difficult to get’ job? – probably yes, but you’ve got to keep your options open in life to be able to succeed and find the career that suits you best.

Thanks to The Courtyard, I’m getting time to practice my people skills publicly while helping them in a small way too and overall this is boosting my confidence so I can, hopefully, achieve my goals.