Marleen Vermeulen (1964-2022)
Tanzima’s Work Experience Blog
Don’t let the large doors intimidate you because when first entering the Half Moon theatre, I was met with nothing more than kindness. Lydia, creative learning assistant and my tour guide, showed me to my desk, introduced me to the staff working there and gave me a folder with a work experience pack to help me. Then we went around the theatre, and I was shown the rooms and was told what they’re used for. She explained what they did there and always reassured me that if I needed anything, just ask around which was helpful. Then, I was put to my first task, laminating. To you it may not seem all that but as someone who’s never used a laminator before, it was pretty cool, so I got to it.
I supported Next Steps which is a youth club where students who worry about going to secondary can become more confident. In the session, the group, who was led by Jen and Rosie, played games such as recall and repeat, match up and group work, as well as teaching them about internet safety, which is very useful especially during times like these. My overall thoughts about this are that these sessions are extremely engaging and thoughtful of the theatre’s team.
One thing that I remembered clearly about the tour Lydia gave me was the showing of the outside garden area which I thought was a nice hangout area so, during my one-hour break, I sat there and ate. It was surprisingly quiet but relaxing.
Break over. I had the pleasure of witnessing Solar Youth Theatre’s rehearsal for their upcoming show. What surprised me the most was how the group was full of people with disabilities and were treated with the upmost respect. The rehearsal was full of life and energy as it started off with a group calming exercise. After that Mariño, Solar’s instructor, introduced me to the group, and I was met with opens arms and warm smiles as they offered me a chance to join in with their practise. It made me feel welcome and comfortable in the performing space. I watched everyone engaged with the activities and they were such a lovely and positive drama group with a fun play. Adding onto that play, I saw their technical rehearsal. It was a play about a family whose car stops abruptly at a digital detox camp however someone does exactly follow the rules, so when the hidden tablet runs out of battery, Nathan tells them all the story about two differing sides who battle to take over the world but ending up doing something completely opposing. The rehearsal had sound effects and a lot of supporting movements coming from the cast which added to the atmosphere. If that’s how the rehearsal went, I can only imagine how the real thing looks like! During the rehearsal breaks, I was met with other members doing work experience / volunteering and we shared stories with each other which was nice.
The team treated me with compassion and as an equal. Even though I was exhausted after the day, the week started off great!
I guess it didn’t hit me until today, but I realised that I’m going to work instead of school. As I entered the office, people greeted me, and I added to my blog. After that, I went on my lunch break but this time upstairs. Something that I do really respect about half Moon is that your lunch breaks are flexible to you which is pleasant.
I was set to work with 2 off timetable tasks. Firstly, I had to water the plants in the garden. I had more of a difficult time than I’d like to admit as I spent a good 10 minutes trying to roll out the hose pipe and when that didn’t go any further, grabbed two jugs from the green room and started letting one fill up, switch it with the other, used the filled one to water the plants and the cycle kept on going. Believe me when I tell you that I was extremely relieved when I finished that task. It’s all about improvisation. Secondly, I went down into the basement and started taking everything out of the suitcases and cleaning them, then repacking them. This task was fairly easy compared to what I just had to experience in the garden but the shear amount of stuff the theatre has baffles me from props to toys. You never have something not to do here.
Later in the day I worked with ‘Eclipse Youth Theatre’ who are a club filled with young kids full of energy. We did many activities such as answer a question of the day which was “If you could speak to one animal which one would it be?” I answered a dolphin as they can tell me what’s down in the deep as technology has yet to be developed enough to explore areas of that much pressure so learning answers to long asked questions would be interesting. Then we played physical games around the theatre space, and I helped the kids to write their evaluations. While that happened, I had fun speaking to the kids for a while.
Overall, the day was fun but hard-working (and the garden will forever make me tired just thinking about it).
On the way to Half Moon, I saw a tuxedo cat with green eyes who came up to me which already made my day!
When I came in, I was greeted by Jen, and I added to my blog again. I was left with a list of tasks to do throughout the day until ‘Equinox’ arrived. I went on Vimeo and watched a performance that was hosted by Half Moon called Butterflies. Here’s my review:
“Butterflies has a beautiful score and wonderful lighting which helps solve everyday issues in an interesting and compelling way. About taking risks on a ‘scary’ journey, however if you find the fun in it, can lead to you to finding your inner courage with the help of your friends. Definitely something an audience, especially a younger audience, should invest their time into.”
Time for my break and I spent it again in the green room where I met another volunteer! After, I typed up CPD evaluation forms on Half Moon’s documents and this is when I started to feel official and like this was my actual job. I thought I was going to be stuck here for hours typing after seeing the number of papers there were but most of them were blank which saved my fingers from cramping.
Nearing the end of my day, I worked with Equinox who are a drama group filled with young kids like Eclipse was. We started off the session with an activity which includes you moving your body to create different words or animals, and I could see how creative they were! Then I supervised them while they wrote their evaluations, and they went to break while I talked with some of the staff here. When I went back, they were all brainstorming different themes for their next show and some suggestions even surprised me. Then the day finished off with another game using their body language to create different scenarios. And when they went home, I finished up some notes taking and talked with the staff about the day.
Altogether, today was a bit more relaxing than yesterday.
I walked into Half Moon, was greeted by Lydia and Stephen, and was even offered a hot drink by him which was kind, then I sat down to add to my blog. Today Lydia talked to me about going to Poplar Baths to support Next Steps over there with her and Jen.
From the list yesterday, I finished off taking everything out of the suitcases, cleaning them and repacking them. Afterwards, I went to have lunch in the green room and there were quite a lot of staff in there with me, then later I went to the garden to have some snacks and to watch videos which ended up being a majestic experience because it was sunny out while white butterflies flew around me.
Lydia gave me name stickers to write the kids from Poplar Baths name’s on and after we set off on a 5-minute bus ride to the leisure centre. When we got there, it was way bigger than I thought it would it and Jen introduced me and Lydia to the kids. As I supported Next Steps, we played games such as the name and switch game, match up and recall and repeat, Jen even asked me if I could give them advice for secondary school, and then we went over internet safety which again I do find a good exercise for young kids to do. The kids weren’t fully focused all the time, which was a bit challenging, but we managed and had a good time. At the end of the day, I made the quite the long way back home by bus.
Tomorrow is the last day :0 However I do have an idea of what I want to do.
HERE WE ARE! I entered the office and Lydia greeted me. I sat down to finish my blog which I’m typing up right now but before, I went to the corner shop to buy some chocolate to wrap up in a ribbon to give to the Half Moon theatre team as a thank you for being so generous and welcoming to me 🙂
Lydia gave me a quick briefing of what I need to do today which included redesigning the sharing board and watering the plants in the garden. Firstly, I went to the garden to water the plants again with the same routine; grabbing two jugs from the green room and started letting one fill up, switch it with the other, use the filled one to water the plants and repeat the cycle till they’re all watered. However, this time was way easier and less tiring than the last time as I knew what I was doing. Secondly, I collected a bunch of photos from past performances from eclipse, equinox, lunar, and orbit, and printed them out.
Before I went to the board, I had my lunch break in the green room for the final time. After that, I cut out the photos using the guillotine, went over to the notice board to redesigned it with the new photos of the sharing which was enjoyable as I got to fully redesign it how I wished. At first, I put the pictures way too high that when you close the glass case you can’t see it, so I had to redo the board (thank you Lydia for pointing it out before I finished it) which was a bit discouraging but I’m satisfied with the final result! After that I refolded a show’s leaflets. And now my final task was to sort out folders with Lydia, write up my evaluation and I’m done with my work experience.
The week is finally over and I’m going to miss this place 🙁
In conclusion, I loved my work experience at Half Moon theatre, and I met so many new people and learned what it’s really like to be in a workplace. It’s going to be so weird going back to a usual school timetable after today. This opportunity was delightful, made me more confident, and worth it so if you’re reading this and looking for someplace to do your work experience or volunteering at, definitely give this place a chance. Thank you for the amazing week!
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Work Experience and Volunteering
Half Moon is committed to providing quality work experience opportunities to young people from our local area who are keen to find out more about different job roles. We offers a range of work experience and volunteering opportunities for secondary school, college students and higher education students.
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