02 Jun Blog | work experience – Harriet Beynon

I first saw Gecko’s Institute two years and was captivated by the company’s effortless blend of dynamic physical comedy with aesthetically pleasing dance sequences. I went on to create a series of short pieces for my Drama and Performance Studies A Levels, inspired by their eclectic use of styles and techniques. Therefore, when I found out about the Work Experience opportunity, I could not wait to apply.

I was extremely apprehensive on my first day, but Belinda and Pippa were so friendly and made me feel very much at home. I began by having a scroll through the company website, familiarising myself with their work and core aims. This was extremely useful in giving me an excellent bank of knowledge for the tasks I would be given throughout the week.

My first task was to select appropriate quotes from participants and organisers of the many workshops and intensives Gecko runs throughout the year and compile them into a spreadsheet. Reading all the positive comments was lovely and really motivated me to take part in an Intensive in the future, because I have done workshops with Chris Evans in the past and found them invaluable as an aspiring actress and theatre maker.

I also got to update the company’s Wikipedia page, hence why intensely studying the website as my first task was so helpful. I particularly found reading into all the different shows the company has created really intriguing and uncovered that Gecko spend at least two years developing and show and are constantly reinventing their work to maintain its interest and accessibility.

Pippa likewise gave me numerous important research tasks such as planning Amit’s, the company’s Artist Director, journeys for the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and looking at various British International Schools and hotels that the company could partner with, as just a few examples. I particularly enjoyed the tasks I was given, as I knew I was making a genuine contribution to the development of the company and they gave me a real insight into the administrative side of theatre. As someone who wants to ultimately have my own company and make my own work, this was invaluable at giving me an understanding of all areas of production such as budgeting and finance.

Before I arrived, Belinda, the company’s General Manager, asked me if there was anything in particular I wanted to learn more about during my time with the company. Based on what I said, I was lucky enough to spend time with both Belinda and Pippa, the Company Administrator, where they talked me through the company’s incredibly complex three year business plan, their Education Outreach and how the company goes about auditioning and hiring performers and their technical team. Belinda and Pippa were so helpful, answering all my many questions and helping me to understand this intricate area.

I completed my internship during the week of PULSE Festival, a theatre festival exclusive to Ipswich that showcases a variety of styles of theatre created by upcoming theatre makers in the run up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I went with Belinda to see Maestro by Kieran Hodgson at the New Wolsey Theatre, a comic biographic tale of his journey from an awkward teenager to a content young adult, set against the backdrop of classical music. Observing all the theatrical people Belinda knew, made me realise the importance of theatre contacts in creating your work and how much this can do for your art.

What I have cherished most from this experience, has been just being in the office. So many interesting theatre people would come and go in the office such as performers, people from the Arts Council, set designers and lighting designers and hearing all the passion and enthusiasm of the performing arts made me realise I do not want to work in any other area, but the theatre. I was particularly star struck, when Amit came into the office!

I have loved my time with Gecko and cannot thank the wonderful team enough for their patience, support and friendly, relaxed, tea-filled office. I cannot wait to see what Gecko gets up to in the near future!

Harriet Beynon June 2017

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