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My Week at Northern Ballet

Published on Friday 5 July, 2013

17 year old student Danielle Nicholls has spent the last week on work experience at Northern Ballet. Here's what she's been getting up to...

Northern Ballet Dancer Kevin Poeung. Photo Jason Tozer

From 1- 5 July I was given the opportunity to do a week’s work experience in the Communications department at Northern Ballet. Throughout this week I undertook several different tasks which were surprisingly beneficial to me for my area of study (most work placements force the most boring and unnecessary jobs on students but not Northern Ballet!)

I am currently studying Media Studies, English Language and ICT at St. Mary’s College in Blackburn and am hoping to study a Media and Marketing course at University. I am a dance enthusiast and attend weekly ballet classes as well as watching dance shows on a regular basis. For the past year or so I have been on the marketing team for two companies; Heart of Glass Magazine and Mungo Nation Music. When my college suggested I set up a work experience placement, Northern Ballet was the very first company that sprung to mind as I felt it could combine my two interests; ballet and marketing.

When I arrived at Northern Ballet on 1 July, I was greeted by Liam from Communications. He introduced himself and showed me around the building so I could establish myself and know where things are. He also introduced me to each member of the Communications team so I was familiar with them. The Communications office is light hearted, welcoming and friendly yet hardworking and professional to ensure tasks are done to the best of their ability.

On Monday I was asked to complete research into the competition of the autumn/ winter productions: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, A Christmas Carol and Cinderella.  This included finding what is on in each theatre in that city around the time of Northern Ballet’s visit. This was beneficial to me as it helped me understand some of the process of marketing. It helped me understand that any product- no matter what it is- should be unique from any other products that are in the market at the same time to ensure success.

Another task I completed on Monday was research into key bloggers who the company could benefit from inviting to the press nights of the upcoming productions. These bloggers were asked to be in the areas of ballet/ dance/ theatre/general cultural happenings in each city. I found this useful as it helped me develop my research skills further to what is needed for my A2 courses which start in September. I also helped create a contact list to help attract more 16-24 year olds to come see the Company’s productions. This, again, helped improve my research skills and also gave me some self involvement as I am in that age range myself.

On the Tuesday morning of my week at Northern Ballet, I attended the Communications team meeting where each member of the team discussed last weeks happenings- evaluating what had taken place- and what tasks they were each going to complete during the upcoming week. This helped me have a deeper understanding of what tasks each job role in the department undertook on a weekly basis and taught me that each team in a business should communicate frequently to ensure the best possible outcome. 

On Wednesday I put together material to revamp the press board as it needed updating. I got together screenshots, images and quotes from the successful The Great Gatsby which toured March 2013. I organised these and pinned them to the press board on the second floor.

On Thursday afternoon, I was given the task of finding additional information for three of the upcoming productions to be held in the Stanley & Audrey Burton Theatre; 2Faced Dance, Company Chameleon and Ballet Black. This extra information included videos. With the help of Liam and Phill, I uploaded these details to the Stanley & Audrey Burton website. This helped me improve my website management skills before starting my A2 ICT course in September.

During the week I met with both Phill (Communications Manager: Web & Social Media) and Catherine (Communications Manager: Media & PR) to discuss their job roles. I found both of these talks interesting and helpful as they both spoke about not only what they do but how they do it. I also listened in to a phone call- meeting between Catherine and Newcastle Theatre Royal.

I have enjoyed my experience at Northern Ballet and would like to thank everyone in the Communications department for helping me learn valuable work place skills.

Danielle Nicholls (17)