Here at Birmingham Hippodrome we offer one week placements to young people who want a taster of what working in a big theatre is like. Our work experience placements are designed to give young people an idea of what happens during the day-to-day life of a presenting theatre, exploring the range of work that goes on behind the scenes. We recently welcomed 15 year old Shania Shaffi from Phoenix Collegiate School. This placement in particular was slightly different as Shania is visually impaired, so staff adapted work experience tasks to suit Shania’s needs. Here’s Shania’s own account of how her placement here at Birmingham Hippodrome went.
“I first arrived at the theatre on Monday with my support teacher Miss Dowling; we started off our day with a tour of the Hippodrome guided by Administration Assistant Grace Morgan who looks after work experience students. Grace showed us all around the building and all the different departments and conference rooms such as the Patrick Centre studio. We then went to the box office were I met Richard Wood who showed me how the box office worked. I spent some time with Richard listening to some of the phone calls that he was receiving from customers wanting to book tickets for different shows. Everyone in the box office was really friendly and made me feel comfortable in the working environment. Richard who is also visually impaired also gave me good advice about going to university in the future and how I should deal with it being a visually impaired person. I felt comfortable talking to Richard about being visually impaired and chatting to him about how I cope with things at school. I found learning how the box office works very interesting.
On the second day I arrived in the morning and worked in the offices with Rachel Smith from the Education Department. I was working on a mood board in the Pinterest app on my IPad, the theme for the board was a toy shop for a ballet called The Nutcracker where the toys come to life after the toy shop closes. This was my first time using Pinterest and I really enjoyed it. Everyone was really nice and loved my mood board. After lunch I then went to a primary school called St. Bernadette’s where I watched the Year 6 children practice Annie the musical which was really fun.
On the third day I arrived at the theatre in the morning, and Grace took me to interview different staff members so I could learn about different roles in the Hippodrome. We first interviewed Mark O’ Dwyer from IT, Becky Poulton from finance, Charlie Pette from conference and events, Rosanna Milsom from Development and Amy Haycock from press. They all told me about their job, what they do every day and how much they all enjoy it.
Over all I’ve really enjoyed being at the Hippodrome and I have learnt so much about the theatre itself and the lovely people that work there, and I feel really thankful and lucky for this experience.”
For more information on our Work Experience Scheme please visit our website – please note all places for 2015 are fully booked.