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Work Experience at the Shaftesbury

Last week at the Shaftesbury we were very happy to host Thea, a work experience student from Year 10. Thea spent around a day with each department in the Theatre, including Stage, Lighting and Front of House. She had a fantastic time and very kindly agreed to answer some questions for us about her placement.

If you are interested in a work experience placement at the Shaftesbury, please get in touch with sbaylis@shaftesburytheatre.com. Please bear in mind that there are a very limited number of placements per year.


1. Why did you choose the Shaftesbury Theatre for work experience?

I always wanted to work in theatre and the Shaftesbury was kind enough to let me do my work experience here. I think that the Shaftesbury was a good choice not only because they accepted my request but also because they are independent theatre on the west end so I had the opportunity to see much more than I would in a regular west end theatre or a smaller independent theatre.

2. Has the experience been how you expected it to be?

The experience was actually better than I thought it would be. Everyone was so kind and really listened to my questions and showed me how things run. Also, I got to see a lot more departments and talk to a lot more people than I thought I would get to.

3. Has anything surprised you about this week?

I wasn’t expecting all the roles and responsibilities that there are in theatre. For example, I didn’t know that there was so many maintenance people needed just to keep the building running. I also didn’t know what a DSM (deputy stage manager) was.

4. What has been your favourite part of the week?

I really enjoyed learning about the past shows since there is such a rich and funny history as well as finding out about all the different levels in the lighting rig.

5. If you’ve had a least favourite part, what is it and why?

My least favourite part was probably being at the stage door but only because I felt quite in the way in the small booth. However everyone was very nice about it and didn’t seem to mind.

6. Do you think this week has changed how you think about how a West End theatre works? How?

Definitely. The divide between the theatre and the production team, the sheer amount of work it takes, the number of people who devote their time to making sure that the audience enjoys themselves and everything runs smoothly. I had no idea how demanding but also enjoyable theatre can be.

7. Has this week changed your future career ambitions at all?

I don’t quite know yet but it has definitely made me re-evaluate what my career path will be.

8. Do you think other people should apply to do work experience at the Shaftesbury?

I think that anyone whose doing work experience and is interested in going into any aspect of theatre then they should apply for the Shaftesbury. It’s the best place for learning and exploring anything to do with theatre.

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