Name: Christine Collins, 21
Occupation: Technical Intern at the Lyric Theatre
The past four weeks have possibly been the most eventful in my life. I graduated from university, moved house and started a full time six month internship at the Lyric Theatre, facilitated by the Northern Bank's Scholarships Scheme and supported by Arts and Business Northern Ireland. The word internship usually brings about connotations of skivvy, unpaid worker, tea/coffee maker. This was what I was prepared for, however the past few weeks have been so much more.
I started my technical theatre placement at a bit of a strange time as it's a dark period for the theatre – there are no shows in the Northern Bank Stage, so there is therefore not a lot of technical work being done for productions. There has however been a constant flow of performances in the Naughton Studio, mainly through the Creative Learning Department's Summer Scheme Programme. I've therefore been able to adjust slowly to working full time in a theatre – going from six hours of classes over two days to working 43 hours over six days was not a fun adjustment! However, the many amazing things I've gotten to do in these hours definitely makes up for it.
The great thing about it being a dark period in the theatre is that the staff have time to explain things to you properly and can let you have some experience operating the equipment. Once Molly Wobbly made it's way to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, there was a lot more time for this and I was therefore given some training on counterweight flying and was allowed to fly the blacks and some storage bars in the main auditorium. I also like to think I stood up for girls everywhere when some of the technicians were amazed that I didn't have any problem in weighting the bars (each bar is 10kg each and some of the bars had to have up to 26 weights on them).
Looking back over the eclectic mix of shows I've worked on over the past month, I've learned lots so far, not only about the technical elements of theatre but also about the general workings of a producing theatre, the roles of working individuals within it (including my fellow interns Carly and Erin!) and I've seen how a show evolves from a rehearsal to a performance process. Some of the other extremely important things I've learnt are:
- How everyone in the technical department takes their coffee.
- How to remain professional and not laugh whilst men are dancing completely naked for 20 minutes on stage (a la Cruising, Clubbing, F**king)
Things still to negotiate:
- The quickest way to navigate around the building (slowly but surely getting there!
- How to bruise less (currently have 28 and counting)
Christine is one of two theatre interns who won a Northern Bank Freedom Experience Scholarship which included a work experience element based at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast supported by Arts and Business Northern Ireland.