Being a Kickstart Theatre Production Assistant with Eastern Angles

18 October 2021

Before she went out on tour with the Our White Skoda Octavia team, one of our Theatre Production Assistants Jo reflected on her time with us so far...

I have been based at Eastern Angles Theatre Company during my Kickstart placement. The Kickstart scheme offers jobs for young people aged 16-24 for 6 months at a time. I started my placement in May, and I have thoroughly been enjoying every second of it. Going into this I already knew that I wanted to work in the creative industries, but I also wanted to learn new things along the way. Now, I think I have accomplished that by being here at Eastern Angles.

The first show I worked on was called Sam Snape and the Curse of Chillesford Chough - it was a very exciting but nerve-wracking time as everything was all very new to me. One of the highlights of working on the show was definitely sitting in on the read through. This is where everyone involved in the show (whether your working backstage, front of house, or costume etc.) gathers in a room and hears the cast read the script for the first time. I really enjoyed this experience as it felt like such a community; everyone was extremely passionate and excited about the show as it was the very first one we'd put on since Covid. 

Actors on stage dressed as knights stand in a line formation

Sam Snape and the Curse of the Chillesford Chough

Credit: Mike Kwasniak

Sam Snape and the Curse of the Chillesford Chough was also the first show I sat in rehearsals for - this was probably something I will remember most about my time here as it was all so new to me. I found it fascinating how the cast really made the show their own. Sitting in throughout tech week just before the show open was definitely the experience from which I learnt the most. I was taught how to use basic lighting skills -  using different types of lighting and how to make different effects with it. I also helped with props, such as helping make a boat that was being used, doing the props check list each show night for the cast and making sure the props were all in the right place.

The second show I worked on was Red Skies, which went out on tour for a month. During tech week I was able to learn more about lighting as this mainly what I wanted to focus on during my time here; I also helped out the team with fixing props, putting the set together and moving the set into the theatre room. My highlight of Red Skies, and of my entire experience at Eastern Angles so far, is probably going out on tour. We travelled to places such as Brightlingsea, Stowmarket and Lowestoft. Once we'd arrived, I would help with rigging and focusing the lights. I found that I thoroughly enjoyed this - the whole month we were touring proved to be just as much fun as everyone made it out to be. I also managed to help with Front of House on some of the shows and this was an amazing opportunity for me to get involved in more areas in the theatre.

During the gap before the next show, I helped work on a Holiday Club for 2 weeks. This was held during the summer holidays for kids who are eligble for free school meals. Going into this experience I was very cautious as I had never worked with children before, however I found that I thoroughly enjoyed and benefitted from it, I would love to help out with again someday. It was very rewarding to work with kids and I also got to meet some amazing people by doing it as well.

Holiday Club, Summer 2021

The most recent show I have helped out with was The Ballad of Maria Marten which is touring all over England. Once again I was able to sit in on rehearsals for the show - it was really interesting to see the difference and similarities of how the two different directors worked. The Ballad of Maria Marten had toured previously, and when I first watched the show I found the story was gripping all the way through. The play is based on a true story and has such an important message about friendship and growing up. In the lead up to the tour I also involved in helping with props and other parts of the set. 

Overall, I am so happy I decided to do this Kickstart placement as I’ve learned so much throughout my time here, and it's been immensely helpful to work alongside people who are friendly and all so passionate about the theatre industry. I'm really looking forwards to the rest of my placement!