Getting the hang of things

Saeran Rowland

Faculty: Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
School: School of Creative Industries
Category: Staff

5 October 2017

A cup of coffee resting on open books

The time has already gone so quickly that I seem to have blinked away another fortnight working at the Mumford Theatre/Ruskin Gallery. I've been enjoying the experience so far, so at least I haven't gone running for the hills yet.

In previous jobs I have had to drag myself out of bed at the unsociable time of 5 o’clock in the morning and lie to myself that I was, in fact, a morning person. To convince myself of this, I had to ingest so much caffeine and sugar that by the time the afternoon came around, I was barely a person, more of an overly caffeinated zombie that would have fitted in well as an extra on The Walking Dead. That is not the case so far working at the Mumford Theatre/Ruskin Gallery. I’m still not crazy about getting out of my warm cosy bed in the mornings (who is?) and yes I do still need a coffee to kick-start the day, but #1: It’s at a much more reasonable time, so the one coffee will suffice (most of the time) and #2: I look forward to going into work.

My third and fourth weeks working here have definitely reinforced this feeling of enjoyment and lack of zombie-like behavior (the jury’s out on whether my colleagues agree with the zombie statement). Both weeks have consisted of doing all sorts of things, with the final preparations for the beginning of the autumn season in the theatre fully underway, there were a lot of new things to learn and do: banking, updating interval order slips with new pricing and learning how to reprogram product prices on the bar till (don’t worry, we aren’t charging the earth for things), creating a survey (and learning about the wonders of Survey Monkey), updating and organising health and safety paperwork, and putting up posters of all our various upcoming shows around the city centre.

a large bearded man is sat in the lap of another man wearing a crown - they are both laughing and joking

A shot taken from The Six Wives of Henry VIII - gutted I missed it!

I’ve never been great with numbers (I have no idea how I managed to get a B in GCSE maths), so I expected the financial side of things to be daunting and more than a little confusing. I have to admit it has been a lot to take in, but I have gradually understood a bit more each time I’ve assisted with the banking and finance in my third and fourth weeks. The basics are easy enough, the rest will come with practice (I hope).

There were some areas of work that shared familiar ground with some of my previous jobs, primarily cleaning the bar section and restocking the bar supplies ready for our first performance on 27 September: The Six Wives of Henry VIII (I didn’t actually get to see it but it sounded hilarious).

On the night of the show I worked my first bar shift, transferring my customer service skills from selling pasties and cakes (oh the many joys of Greggs) to selling tea, coffee, alcohol, soft drinks and lots of delicious looking treats (another advantage of coming to see a show with us!). It was a busy night, which was amazing to see for our first show of the season! This obviously kept me very busy, but what better way is there to learn how everything works than getting stuck in?

Table with a plate - the plate has a dessert pudding in the shape of teeth and gums

Whilst all this was happening at the theatre, Ruskin Gallery was also going through preparations at the beginning of my third week for a new exhibition to be installed, the exhibition is called Consumed: Stilled Lives, and it’s running until the 14 October so go and have a look. I may not have helped with much, but helping to put up the title wall vinyl in the gallery ready for the exhibition was something I had done in my first week, and I felt more comfortable being a bit more hands-on with it this time, though I was still slightly terrified of messing it up (fortunately I didn’t).

My fourth week ended with the first lunchtime concert of the season, which provided a nice, slightly hectic (and musical) end to the week. It has been a busy and exciting fortnight and I am still thoroughly enjoying being in an environment that keeps me on my toes, and one where I am consistently learning and developing.


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