12 September 2014

Work Experience at Theatre Alibi

Every year we offer students and graduates who are interested in making a career in theatre placements during rehearsals for our children’s show. This autumn two students, Holly Atkinson and Susie MacDonald, wrote about their experience of being involved with our new show, Mucky Pup...

Holly Atkinson, who has just finished her A Levels at Exeter College, spent a couple of days with us during rehearsals for Mucky Pup. Here’s what she felt about the experience...

After learning about Theatre Alibi on my A Level Drama course I felt the work experience opportunity they offer was one that I shouldn’t miss. It was a chance to see how a Theatre company actually works, including the things you don’t learn about when you study Drama. On my first day I started by having an induction to the company which was very interesting and helpful to learn who’s who and what the company is all about. After this I did some admin jobs, which for someone with only a performer’s knowledge gave me an insight into the sheer amount of effort that has to go into a show. Although actors work very hard we forget the people who organise the tour, put the programmes together, arrange schedules etc. Therefore although my experience of the admin involved was small it opened my eyes to the various opportunities within a company like this and within the theatre field in general. In the afternoon I was very lucky and grateful to be able to sit in and observe rehearsals of the show. As someone who is looking towards a career as a performer this was surprisingly a huge learning experience. It made the theatre world seem much more human and down to earth, something I could relate to, giving me more confidence in myself to go into the industry. I found it extremely helpful to get an idea of what being a full time actor would be like, i.e. the daily routine. However I also loved hearing the director’s detailed instructions, highlighting how much work can go in to just one line or movement, with the actors input as well eradicating any sense of hierarchy - also shown in the lovely moments when the two sides of the company, artistic and administrative, came together for well-deserved tea breaks. My experience at Theatre Alibi has helped me to keep my mind open about a career in Theatre, showing that there are many different roads I could take within the industry and not to be afraid to explore them all.

Susie MacDonald is studying for her A Levels at Kings School Bruton. She’s interested in a career as a performer and spent two days with Theatre Alibi during rehearsals for the company’s new children’s show, Mucky Pup...

I was very fortunate to be offered work experience with Theatre Alibi during the penultimate week of rehearsals for Mucky Pup. To begin with I had a tour of the company’s base at Emmanuel Hall. I was very impressed by the vast and diverse prop and costume store, as well as by the workshop in which the props are made. I was allowed to read the script of Mucky Pup, which I found amusing and touching. Following this, I had a rare opportunity to observe rehearsals which allowed me to see the company’s way of working. As well as initial devising from the script, I also watched as the composed music was fitted to the actors’ blocking, a complex process because the timing is very specific. Although unusual with other theatre companies, the set is always made before rehearsals even start so the actors have the advantage of working with a set from day one. This allows actors to use the set more effectively and imaginatively. Everyone I met was really friendly and approachable and I’ve had the opportunity to ask theatre professionals many questions. In addition, I had the opportunity to see a variety of aspects that make up a theatre company from props to marketing which gave me a holistic view of how a company such as this operates. Having seen Mucky Pup in its earlier stages, I very much look forward to seeing the final performance.

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