Monday 3rd June – First Day
The night before my first day, I chose and ironed my outfit then packed my bag for any possible scenario from a broken arm to a wardrobe malfunction. I triple checked my route to the theatre and got moral support from several family members. I woke up leaving myself 3 hours to do the 30-minute train journey yet still rushed around the house like I had to be in Australia by lunchtime. My journey the next morning went surprisingly smoothly, even with my poor attention span and having as much sense of direction as a spoon. I arrived with 40 minutes to spare and uncontrollable excitement. I wondered aimlessly around the area until I made my way to the entrance of the theatre and emotionally prepared by listening to a drum and bass song. Once the beat dropped I felt sufficiently confident to begin the week.
Upon entry, I met a practitioner who I would be sitting in a meeting with just moments later. She very kindly showed me to where I was supposed to be and I was acquainted with Androulla who welcomed me with such a warm manner that my nerves dissipated within a matter of seconds. I did standard awkward introductions with the rest of the office conversing about my school and general small talk until I was given a tour of the building. As I was lead down winding brick corridors adorned with modern art, shown meeting rooms that transformed into dressing rooms and got lost in the endless colours and fabrics of the costume room, I knew that the forthcoming week would be amazing.
My first matter of business was to sit in a meeting for a project that was teaching kids maths through theatre, and I was immediately envious of these children who would be taught angles by Jafar (one of the practitioners pretending, not actually ‘Jafar’) instead of how I learnt, which was reading maths books in silence. This meeting gave me a few jobs to do, like edit worksheets and photocopy the resources they needed, which I was more than happy to do. The rest of the day followed in a similar fashion, with cutting, printing, laminating and photocopying, and I can genuinely say I enjoyed all of it. The freedom and responsibility I was given made every individual job, no matter how trivial, enjoyable. I then took my lunch (reluctantly, as I wanted to carry on working) and returned to the task of creating a sheet for the maths project. The day flew by and before I finished stapling things together I was being told it was time to go home and I made the journey back full of eagerness to return the following day.
Tuesday 4th June – Getting to Grips
I had a later start on Tuesday but I still rushed around and was early. I already had 2 jobs I needed to get started on from the previous day so I arrived at the office with purpose, and as soon as I could I got started on them both. I had to fill in sheets providing the information for about 30 children who would be starting the new ‘Next Steps’ programme. This programme is for kids who will be going into secondary school and the aim is to make this transition as easy as possible. This task was quite difficult and took a lot of time but once it was finished, Androulla commended me and I felt a sense of accomplishment. I then started on this blog and did some odd jobs. I had a lunch break and then I got the privilege of sitting in and helping with one of the Youth Theatres that are run here. It was a lovely break from the office work, and seeing how immersed the kids were in theatre made me so happy. They were working towards a performance that they had devised and it was very funny and creative. I took part in the beginning games, then took notes while they were rehearsing their scenes. I also edited the script accordingly. The two tutors leading the group were very kind and had a special way of engaging the children which was fascinating to observe.
Wednesday 5th June – Favourite Day So Far
The day started like any other but little did I know the significance of today. I was made aware I’d be sitting in on two Youth Theatres near to the end of the day, but before both of those I had a few things to do. I was introduced to Beccy who told me about Half Moon’s ‘Careers in Theatre’ programme, and I helped out with putting the participants’ evaluation sheets in the system. I think the programme is very important for the youth of today, and after reading the evaluation sheets it was abundantly clear there was an extremely positive reception. I started with updating my blog and writing a review for the Youth Theatre I had sat in on the previous day. I thoroughly enjoyed participating in it and was very excited for the next two. The first part of the day flew by and before I knew it, I was in the space for the next Youth Theatre. I could never get bored of seeing all the children creating and devising theatre; seeing how happy it makes them all is just beautiful. I had a 15-minute break and then I was instructed to help the next group of people in, I was informed that Solar Youth Theatre was for disabled teenagers. I was excited but nervous to see how they would respond to a new person in the group. I had no need to worry since as soon as one of the girls saw me there she ran up and gave me a huge hug. This was the best introduction to the group I could have had. In the 2-hour session, the group rehearsed a piece they would be performing and I slowly got to grips with the individual personalities inhabiting the space. This session was my favourite by far, seeing all the people interact and immerse themselves in the performance was undoubtedly the highlight of my week. Every personality had quirks and humour which enriched their performance, every teenager in that room was warm and kind-hearted, and I honestly feel so grateful to have participated. Unwillingly, I said goodbye to everyone and went home, raving about the incredible day I had to my mum.
Thursday 6th June – The Visit
My day was pretty standard, but I was still buzzing from the day before. I did admin work for Beccy and Androulla until my teacher from school came into visit. He could see how happy I was and Androulla spoke highly of me which only made my mood better. I told him how working with Solar Youth Theatre had inspired me to pursue a career involving disabled children in theatre. He was very impressed! I was feeling sad the week was nearly over.
Friday 7th June – Last Day
So this is it, today is the day I finish my work experience. I entered with some flowers and a card, too embarrassed to announce the gifts so I just quietly left them on Androulla’s desk. I’m doing admin work and have been all day but I don’t mind. I’m so happy to have done this week and the fact I’ve been offered the opportunity to come back to volunteer makes my heart soar. I’ve learnt so much in this week and hope I keep a strong relationship with Half Moon. I was also shown a trailer for the new play for teenagers in the autumn which looked incredible, and I plan to bring as many friends and get this theatre as much exposure within my community as I can. I won’t ever forget this experience and hope to bring what I’ve learnt here into school and everyday life.
Layla came to us from The Brit School, 3rd June – 5th June 2019.
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