Work Experience Diary | Myla “I honestly hadn’t the slightest idea what to expect”

Myla took part in a week of work experience at the Bush. Here she recounts her experience of reading scripts, booking the Artistic Director’s international travel and helping manage a front of house crisis.

As I walked up the stairs to the entrance to Bush Theatre, I honestly hadn’t the slightest idea what to expect from such a spell binding, boundary-pushing place. I shuffled up to reception making sure I swallowed any evidence of nervousness. One of the front of house team welcomed me warmly before I was whisked up to the office by someone else from the Bush team, who had the enthusiasm of a puppy whilst showing me round the building. I immediately started to feel more at ease, knowing this wasn’t Little Shop of Horrors. I even got to have a desk.

“I honestly hadn’t the slightest idea what to expect from such a spell binding, boundary-pushing place.”

Before I can came to Bush, it was fair to say I was quite ignorant of what went on backstage; I was used to having a script shoved in my face and told to learn my lines and songs for whatever musical I was about to do. Whilst learning a song one evening, that’s when I realised: ‘surely there must be team bigger than the cast for the Lion King backstage’- of course there is… it was just a lot larger than I imagined. A lot of my friends had done work experience already, due to their schools forcing them to. As I’m home schooled, I thought it might be a nice change from making the commute from my bed to the living room every day. And that’s how I stumbled across the work experience programme at Bush Theatre.

The terrace at the Bush Theatre. Photo: Philip Vile

The terrace at the Bush Theatre. Photo: Philip Vile

On my first day, I was with the literary department. I was immersed in the process of how the theatre picks what plays they want to put on. It is a lengthy process of reading about seven hundred applicants’ scripts and seeing which ones scream ‘Bush Theatre’ in their faces. I read a script that was still in development and reported on it, giving my opinion and thoughts on it. The discussion we had afterwards was a lot more thought provoking and analytical than any English Lit analysis of Miss Havisham’s demeanour as a character.

The next day I was with the admin team, planning a trip to Canada’s Push Festival for Madani, the Artistic Director. Being a complete junkie for organisation this was great challenge for me. Even so, it still required a lot of thought and consideration. I had to make sure the flights weren’t too long, and that Madani wouldn’t end up in Frankfurt instead of Vancouver. Either way, he’ll get there eventually; just like Dorothy getting back home.

Madani Younis, Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre

Madani Younis, Artistic Director of the Bush Theatre

I was given a quick glance in to the world of working in front of house, making sure that all the money from the bar added up to what they had on their system, before it started raining inside. It was a leak that trumped all other leaks – work was postponed until three, which was when a dress rehearsal for their new show, The Believers Are But Brothers, was on. It made you think… A lot, about the culture of Islam and how it’s always there, just under the surface of the internet.

believers are but brothers

Javaad Alipoor in The Believers Are But Brothers. Photo: The Other Richard

Walking in to the office the day after an eventful time, felt as though the leak never happened; the computers were back and everyone was working happily. If anything Bush Theatre should get five stars for efficiency. I finally worked in community and development, helping to research fundraisers for the Bush charity and learnt about the patrons that have a helping hand in the theatre’s budget. This was one thing I did not think would be so important. The amount of charities and foundations I researched makes my head hurt to think about it, but nevertheless it’s a key part of the jigsaw puzzle to the complex clockwork of the Bush Theatre.

On the final day, here I am writing a blog as part of the marketing department work I’m doing. I have never really written a blog before and honestly it was a lot more fun than I assumed it would be. The skills I have learnt and the insight I have had is absolutely amazing. I cannot thank Bush Theatre enough for the experience that it has given me. The people working back stage are so dedicated to what they do, and it is clear they are passionate and enthused by new theatre and plays of the future. Working in such an environment has been a privilege; each department is just as important as the work on stage – probably even more. Anyone that has an interest in theatre has to come here for work experience, it is the perfect way to be immersed in something you love and it’s great to discover the running of the theatre. Either way, it is something you will never forget.

Find out more about work experience opportunities and the Bush Theatre’s work in the community here.