Work Experience Diary | Jessica ” a superb experience for me”

Our work experience student Jessica Burrows tells us about her time at the Bush Theatre.

When I stepped out of Shepherd’s Bush Market station on Monday morning, I was thrilled by the hustle and bustle of the people rushing past. Slightly apprehensive, I crossed the road and approached the door to the Bush Theatre.

As I waited in reception, I could feel my hands shaking a little. What if the work is too demanding? What if I get overwhelmed? What happens then?

Fortunately, when I was walked up to the office, I felt my fears ease away. It seemed as if everyone was smiling and ready to shake my hand and introduce themselves.  The community felt so strong at the Bush; it was as if everyone knew each other and wanted to support them.

“It’s strange how we can interpret words so differently and infer different emotions from the same monologue.”

Having a small office means that all the departments know each other and are aware of what each other are doing. Unlike a theatre such as the Lyceum, the departments collaborate face to face, not just via email or the telephone. This also meant I was able to work with every department to have a feel of a variety of jobs and understand how much work goes into producing a show.

I was fortunate enough to collaborate with a writer and director on a show they are developing with support from the Bush. Instead of sitting in an office all day and typing, I was able to stand up and act and discuss the themes and events of the play (similar to an English lesson, but much more fascinating!) Then, we got to work with an actor who would also read out the parts I had read. It’s strange how we can interpret words so differently and infer different emotions from the same monologue.

Another task I enjoyed was taking part in a literary reading of Leave Taking by Winsome Pinnock and directed by Madani Younis. Sat with people of various backgrounds and generations allowed me to learn about the culture of Jamaica, the heritage that the characters have in the play, and compare it to that of London, where the play is set.

Adjoa Andoh in Leave Taking at the Bush Theatre © Helen Murray 2

Adjoa Andoh in Leave Taking at the Bush Theatre © Helen Murray

Winsome Pinnock was the first black woman to have a play produced at the National Theatre and to see how this play’s themes can live on decades after it was written was an important discussion for the reading group to have. With the knowledge I now had about the play, when I watched the play at the matinee, I felt like I understood a part of London that I hadn’t before.

Being part of such a positive work space was a superb experience for me. I feel like I have become more confident talking to new people, and I feel like my literary skills have evolved as I have been able to find pinpoint interpretations within a text and ponder the context of a play. As someone who is currently training to be an actress, it has been an absolute privilege to work with such accomplished and passionate people.

Find out more about work experience at the Bush Theatre and the work of our community department.