Kathryn Green, Vamos's Apprentice Administrator, sings the praises of internships and apprenticeships
In the September of 2008 I started a Drama and Performance Studies degree at The University of Worcester; a month before I had the difficult task of choosing my course modules. It was nearly impossible to decide: I didn’t know if I’d be any good at a “Contemporary Performance Practice” module, what-ever that was, or if I’d manage to stay awake for “Political Theatre”. One thing I did know was that I was going to get on the Mask Acting module lead by Vamos Theatre’s Rachael Savage if it killed me: Vamos’s reputation preceded itself. The second I had put a mask on my face I never looked back, jumping at any chance to perform in mask, and joining Vamos Young People’s Theatre.
In my third year I was lucky enough to be given a work experience placement with Vamos, working on Much Ado About Wenlock during its rehearsal period. My jobs ranged from prop sourcing and making to sending out publicity to venues. I loved every second of it and realised there was a lot more to this theatre company than just what an audience sees. It was a brilliant insight to the industry and helped me proudly complete my degree with a 2:1 BA(Hons).
I found myself thinking “right, I’ve got a drama degree, I should be on the professional stage in the next year”. Sadly it’s a struggle now for many arts graduates to find their way into the industry, it’s a battle in which the need for money often out-weighs the time in which you can spend applying and, if you are lucky enough, auditioning for jobs. I decided to take on a part time job outside of the arts and use my spare time to gain as much experience as possible in a professional arts environment. I was already a member of the Young People’s Theatre and when I was given the opportunity to intern as a temporary office assistant with the company, I was delighted. I did a few hours each week; running errands, answering phone calls, organising costume and props cupboards etc - not a day of it was boring or tiresome. Being a little obsessive about being organised, I’d also learnt that I thrived in the office environment and found a role within the industry that suited me to a T.
In May 2012 I was invited to interview for the new Apprentice Administrator role within the company, funded by Arts Council England. In June I was finally on the professional ladder. I am now Vamos Theatre’s Apprentice Administrator, guided by Rachael and the team. Throughout my time with Vamos I have taken on roles and responsibilities that I would never have dreamt of; administrator, office assistant, workshop leader, Young People’s Theatre Coordinator, mask maker, front of house, stage manager, and not least a Dancing Cow.
I urge all graduates to seek out opportunities like the ones I was lucky enough to be given. Whilst they may not be paid roles or your dream job, they are stepping stones towards them. Internships, apprenticeships and volunteer work provides you with experience, and a chance to network with others in the industry: they open up doors that you may have never have even considered going through. Take a risk, say yes to anything and everything and you never know what doors will open up for you.