Starting out as a graduate trainee

Saeran Rowland

Faculty: Arts, Law & Social Sciences
Department: School of Performance
Category: Staff

15 September 2017

Add jetlag on top of nerves and excitement, and there you have me starting my first week as a graduate trainee for the Mumford Theatre and Ruskin Gallery in Cambridge.

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It’s just as well that the team I will be working with for the next year is made up of very understanding, funny, approachable people. Add hardworking to the list as well, because this is a small team of four that make sure that the events at both the Mumford Theatre and Ruskin Gallery run smoothly on a daily basis. 

With this in mind, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t at all worried about not picking up the training fast enough, or being a burden because of my inexperience. However, having previously worked at the Mumford Theatre as a steward, and as an invigilator for the Ruskin Gallery, I knew I already had a good overall idea of the spaces I would be working in, and that I would be comfortable working with the team. Above all, my fears were nullified by the fact that I couldn’t wait to get stuck into the challenges of training in the multiple areas involved in maintaining the theatre and gallery. 

My first two weeks have been eventful and insightful to say the least. In my first week I’m pretty sure there wasn’t a single day that I did the same thing, which definitely kept me on my toes. There was the mandatory online training, stock-taking bar supplies, archiving old programmes, and a stock take of the leaflets/posters for upcoming performances in the theatre, all of which I am eagerly looking forward to seeing. (Take a look at the Mumford Theatre website or pick up a WHAT'S ON ARTS brochure to see the various exciting shows we have on, I guarantee there will be at least one to tickle your fancy).

For the gallery there were some finishing touches to add to the Flare: MA Degree Show 2017 exhibition and the opening night private viewing to attend (FLARE is no longer being presented at the Ruskin Gallery, but visit the gallery website to see what other upcoming exhibitions there are, or pick up a WHAT'S ON brochure). These were all things that were relatively new to me, but I was never overwhelmed thanks to the patient guidance of the members of the team. 

It also soon became evident that the team are always casting their eyes forward to the future and how they can improve the theatre and gallery experience for visitors, students and staff. This was made clear in the away-day meeting I attended. I can honestly say that I finished my first week looking forward to work the following week. How many people can say that?

The second week began with a faculty day followed by two days of Box Office training. I took the faculty day as an opportunity to see how the relationship between the theatre and gallery, and the University, worked. When I was a student here, I don’t think I ever realised how big the faculty was, or how many different departments there were within one faculty. I was admittedly overwhelmed by the number of people I met and the information and initiatives discussed during the faculty day, but what I managed to take away from it is that the faculty and the University, like the Mumford Theatre and Ruskin Gallery, are striving to improve.

Box Office training was completely new to me, though fortunately for me, a new system was being installed so the training was relatively new to everyone, talk about good timing! The sales part of training was straightforward enough, and the Spektrix system layout is lovely, so I’m looking forward to using it. The other areas of training involved accounting, marketing, tags, setting up offers and looking at reports. Needless to say my brain was overflowing with new information by the end of these two days, but it was all explained well and I made plenty of notes, so I should remember it all (I hope).

I may only be two weeks in, and it may sound cheesy but I already feel like a welcome addition to the team and I can’t wait to learn more and get more involved in the weeks to come! Keep an eye out, I could be regretting these words in my next update (though I highly doubt it).

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