Monday, 23 June 2008

Bolton Backstage - Press

Further to the post about Bolton Backstage event and job profile for activ8 administrator here and the job profile of our Finance Director here, next up is turn of the Communications Department and in particular Press.

It is my pleasure to introduce you to Parvati Gorsia. You may recognise her from her recent front page cover shot as the face of Bolton (click here to have a look). Parvati, as you will see, has worked all over the theatre, so knows the Octagon inside out. It seems that her talents are endless being able to turn her hand from ushering to front of house manager, from dynamite photoshop skills to being hostess with the most-ess on sponsors nights. Here's a bit more about what she does:


Parvati Gorsia

Born in Bolton

What do you do?
I am the Press and Communications Officer. As well doing the press and publicity for the Octagon my other duties include, sponsorship, working on the show programmes, coordinating mailouts and general displays and appearance around the building.

How long have you been at it?
I have been at the Octagon Theatre for nine years, I have worked in the Communications Department for 4 years and I have recently started working on Press.

What was your very first role in the theatre?
Usher for the Octagon Theatre.

Have you got qualifications?
BSc Hons in Business Information Technology

What did you do before you worked in theatre?
After graduating I carried on working as an Usher at the Octagon in the evenings. I was looking for a job when Head of Marketing approached me to work with them on a part-time basis.

How did you make the move to working in theatre?
Whilst at college, one of my friends started working at the Octagon as an Usher. As the Christmas production was approaching the Front of House department were looking to employ more Ushers. My friend recommended me to the Front of House Manager, I was then asked to come in to complete a starter form, and it all started from there.

What did you want to be when you grew up?
Air Stewardess, Artist or Criminal Lawyer.

What do you do all day?
My role as Press and Communications Officer includes many day to day jobs. My role includes reading the papers and online publications, writing press releases and planning press strategies for all future productions (researching specific newspaper/online or radio publicity depending on target audiences and the nature of the production). I am involved in the process of choosing production images for press and for displaying Front of House. I also arrange interviews for cast and creative team members to help publicise the production.

At the end of each production I put together a press pack for all creative and cast members; this includes all press coverage along with a flyer, poster and show programme. Other roles include producing and editing show programmes (collating all necessary information biogs, articles, adverts, notes etc to include into the programme and sending it through to the designers), proofing print, and in-house artwork for flyers/posters/displays, sending out invitations for opening nights.

I also coordinate all mailouts; keep an audit of all the print we receive, arrange the Front of House displays and ensure that they are updated on a regular basis. I also work on the Theatre’s Corporate Sponsorship Programme - looking after our Gold, Silver and Bronze members. I arrange hospitality and tickets for their Sponsors Nights and act as their host for the evening.

Finally, I ensure all documents are filed, archive all production print at the end of the season, take care of the departmental petty cash and other general office duties.

What’s the best thing about your job?
The people I work with. Working on different shows and meeting new people (cast/directors/writers or designers), and finally seeing the final publication/print of the work you have produced whether it is in the paper or the show programmes that get delivered at the Octagon (although I never look through it in case I spot a mistake!).

And the worst?
The pay isn’t brilliant and I work a few late nights. I have to work 2 or 3 every month – it can be very tiring!

What’s your dream job in theatre?
I would love to become really good at what I do, hopefully leading to being involved in other big arts projects in the North West.

Got any wise words for someone who wants to be where you are now?
My advice would be to get as much experience in a working environment, even if it’s a job lower down in the hierarchy of your chosen career. The chances are that this is where you need to start to gain the knowledge to build your confidence, skills and show what you can offer to the organisation.


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