Over 10 weeks, as part of a B-Experienced Internship from the University of Birmingham, Orla worked alongside the team on Wuthering Heights. In this blog, she reflects on her time and what she has learnt working as a Producing Assistant.
My name is Orla and I have completed 10 weeks with China Plate as a Producing Assistant for the University of Birmingham, Be-Experienced Internship! I am about to graduate with a BA in Drama and Theatre Arts, so this experience has accompanied the final stages of my degree and helped me transition into thinking about a career.
I have been given the opportunity to learn about producing from an amazing company that produces work with a social purpose and looks to engage with communities around them. My internship specifically looked at supporting the producing team for the touring show Wuthering Heights – an exciting, devised show adapted from Emily Brontë’s novel by Inspector Sands. Within the ten weeks, I worked in a variety of administration and practical roles. I supported the production with research and meetings from afar, entered the rehearsal space to film social media content and event helped on press night!
A key administrative role I took on was researching all the accommodation options around each venue for the actors, crew, and creative team. For a touring production, this is a very important part of the administration to support the show. I gained confidence in my ability to keep organised, prioritise my work throughout the day and complete tasks within deadlines.
Creating a social media campaign was also a large part of this internship. I was excited to get started on this, as I had some previous experience posting professionally on social media and wanted to transfer these skills to create content for a theatre production. I was tasked, along with the other Be-Experienced intern – Fisola, to plan a campaign to approach students. We were particularly focused on student societies, as the production covered many topics they may be interested in such as Social Sciences, English Literature and of course Drama. The campaign involved spreading the word to the student community with posts and emails. I also planned and delivered an Instagram takeover and created a reel containing snapshots of the rehearsal room and even interviewed the cast and creative team! I really enjoyed creating engaging posts that blended smoothly with the original Wuthering Heights artwork that was being shared.
© Alex Brenner
One of my favourite days on the internship was the day of press night! I arrived in the afternoon and took on the role of a runner for the day, helping with various practical tasks to ensure all was prepared and the cast and crew has everything they needed. I then got to watch the show and discuss it with the team at a reception afterwards!
The pastoral care on this internship was so important and helpful in terms of my own personal progress and thinking about career goals. I had 1-1 meetings with Andrea, China Plate’s Engagement and Participation Producer to discuss my career goals and how my internship could support them. This led to various action tasks of research and being involved in meetings concerning learning and participation to understand how China Plate was approaching this surrounding Wuthering Heights.
Overall, I feel that this internship has been a step up in responsibility for me and I have really enjoyed creating work that has contributed to a professional touring production. It has been so valuable to be involved in meetings to discover how each department are working towards the show. This experience has really helped me gain a better understand of the process of production, from the thinking stages to rehearsals, all the way to a press night and beyond! I am really grateful to have been offered this opportunity and will take the skills I have learnt and developed here into a career in the arts industry!