Blog: Riazul Ikram

Riazul (Square)Hi, it’s me riazul. (lowercase R and full stop for aesthetic). I guess I need to talk about my experience here at the Half Moon Theatre. Better not mess things up. The company as a whole is really great! They are kind and lovely and every day I was greeted with a smile. But some of the things that I did were a bit… erm… socially awkward.

Tuesday 2nd May: I’m rushing towards the building. ‘Gosh, I’m going to be so late, shouldn’t have left it to this late!’ I rush to the intercom and sign in. I look at Beccy and say, ‘Sorry I’m late.’ But then she turns and says ‘Late? Oh, Riazul. You are two and a half hours early!’

You what? Are you kidding???!?!?

‘Yeah, don’t worry. Erm… Just do your revision and I’m sure that it’ll be fine.’

What a lovely way to set a first impression on everyone here at the theatre. And so after I complete two hours of revision, I am now ready to start my day properly! It begins with me meeting some of the team, completing forms and reading information about the theatre.  It contains info about some of the stuff that I would be doing this week.

After completing my first super important task (spying on our competitors), I am given a whistle-stop tour of the building and meet the rest of the team in the green room. My anxiety is still as settled as a baby on a rollercoaster, so naturally, I decide to sit this one out and browse social media during my lunch break.

But this too was very eventful, as the conversations that I overheard were beyond priceless…

‘I love talking about food and eating at the same time!’

‘You can do anything to halloumi. My one is breaded!’

‘Local food, local people? NAHH, he went to Pret A Manger!’

If anything this just shows the friendly atmosphere of the people here.

I spent the rest of the day in a youth theatre session, amazed by the sheer passion and commitment that the group had for the subject. I also laughed a lot at the ridiculous ideas that they came up with, because it was very funny.

Wednesday 3rd May: I came in ON TIME today and then started to do some fundraising research. This was a big part of the job and became something that I would pretty much be doing every day. It was interesting to see how many trusts and foundations are willing to help out the Half Moon Theatre. I was exposed to Microsoft Access Database, which was a software which I had never heard of before.

I was also invited to watch rehearsals for a play which is yet to be titled (mysterious) by a company called ‘Tangled Feet’. It was about anxiety in children and teenagers and how it affects their lives. HOW RELATABLE! AM I RIGHT?

As a Drama GCSE student, it was interesting to see how professionals devise theatre. It consisted mainly of improvisation, but while I was watching, I forgot that it was spontaneous because of how good it was. At the end I clapped shamelessly.

I was also invited (whoa so many invites lucky you!) to take part in another youth theatre session, about scary stories. This was by far my favourite part of my experience so far, because it was nice to see all the different interpretations that these 8-11 year olds had of ‘scary’.

Major shout out to David, who, in the moment, played the iconic Ghostbusters theme resulting in a spontaneous dance party. He also played a parody trailer for La La Land… If you know me at all, then you know that this was a very bad move. The dance party made up for it though.

Thursday 4th May: Today was a very ‘hands on’ day for me, because I was told that I was going to help prepare for an event that was called ‘THAT – Half’ where art teachers showcase their talent through a series of work. I was also taught about the lighting board and all the different cues and settings and was challenged to make a set of lights to create two different atmospheres. With very little guidance from Phil (shout out to Phil, he is a legend!), I was able to create a cue which was then used for the real event!

I also discovered that the Half Moon have a DSLR camera, and so after politely asking Beccy if I could use it, I let loose and took pictures of the lights and the set up that Phil and I had created. I like to think of myself as quite the photographer, and so I decided to adjust the AV on the camera and I came out with some impressive results.

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I also discovered the piano that they have in the basement and so I let loose on that as well, practicing a compilation of La La Land songs (anybody seeing a pattern here?) It suddenly hit me that it would be my last day tomorrow and so had a mental breakdown (sort of) but did a pretty good job at covering it up. I think.

Friday 5th May: Final day here at the Half Moon. Final chance to use that camera and piano. I pretty much spent the first half of the day continuing to input information on the database and I am pretty sure I have come across more charities in this list than I have blinked in a year. I somehow managed to get through the 100 page document when Beccy asked me to take some pictures of the upper studio. YES I WILL OF COURSE!!

Here are some that I took:

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I then got bored and took some artsy fartsy shots which would then go on to impress Stephen and lead me to my next task which I pretty much did for the rest of the afternoon; take some pictures for the Half Moon social media account. Pro tip: make sure you ask if you can use the lights for photos because Phil came in quite shocked. Sorry Phil.

Overall, I am so happy that I did this placement and it was way better than the one I had at a bank. The people are so friendly and they always greet me with a happy smile. Thank you very much Half Moon Theatre.

Riazul came to us from Bow School (Tower Hamlets) from 2-5 May 2017.