Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Bolton Backstage - Calling Teachers!

On Friday 27 July we are holding Bolton Backstage, a practical training and vocational insight day for small groups of secondary school Drama, English and Media Studies teachers to learn more about career opportunities in theatre.

These one-day events will include a tour, an introduction to the working practices of the Octagon Theatre and a series of workshops led by professionals in the field. Workshops cover the following disciplines: Directing, Devising, Set Design, Lighting Design, Producing and Theatre Administration, and Marketing.

If you are a Drama, English or Media Studies Teacher based in the North West and are interested in attending the event, please contact Zoe Little at Specialist Schools and Academies Trust to find out if you are eligible to take part. Her number is 01772 730240.

In the run up to the event, we thought it might be of interest to publish a series of job profiles of real-life, bonafide Octagon staff. First up is one of our activ8-ers.....


Lynsey Merrick

Horwich, Bolton

What do you do?
I am the administrator for activ8; the participatory department of the Octagon Theatre.

How long have you been at it?
I have been working at The Octagon Theatre for 1 ½ years, and been in this role for a year.

What was your very first role in the theatre?
Stage door receptionist.

Have you got qualifications?
BA (Hons) degree Music Theatre
MA Applied Theatre (pending)

What did you do before you worked in theatre?
I have always been involved in theatre through study; but have worked in many administration, volunteer and leisure/tourism roles within other industries.

How did you make the move to working in theatre?
Theatre is my area of academic study; and so I applied to all the relevant and local theatres after graduating from University. The Octagon has always been my local theatre; it’s where I did my work experience when I was at school.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a writer or a poet- if I’d have been any good I would have tried it.

What do you do all day?
As an administrator, I act as the communication and liaison link between the department and the rest of the Theatre, clients, agencies and key stakeholders whilst liaising with freelance artists contracted to work with activ8. I am required to be proficient in word processing, audio typing and other IT services for the activ8 team.

Other admin duties include mail distribution, minute taking, responsibility and administration of the activ8 petty cash and the efficient keeping of records of income and expenditure; this involves regular communication with the finance manager of the theatre regarding invoicing, contracts etc.

What’s the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is that I get to work with a diverse group of people that the activ8 department access through their work. It enables me to learn so much and have a much richer experience.

And the worst?
Pay in the arts is not the best, but it’s worth it or no one would do it.

What’s your dream job in theatre?
Having recently completed training to become a workshop leader I am now beginning to become more practically involved in community, youth and education work. I would like to continue and develop this further.

Got any wise words for someone who wants to be where you are now?
Watch lots and lots of theatre, always ask questions and get involved as much as you can with your local organisation.


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