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A week with Northern Ballet

Published on Tuesday 10 September, 2013

As a recently graduated student with a highly useful but extremely non-vocational degree in History I have found myself in that limbo stage of attempting to sample every avenue the world of work has to offer. It is to this end that I find myself enjoying an interesting and enlightening week of work experience with the fundraising team at Northern Ballet.

Here, far from being given the usual mundane tasks often allocated to the intern, I have had the pleasure of being able to experience the broad range of activities and hard work that go on behind the scenes to produce the performances that we all enjoy so much. One day stands out in particular as I was given the opportunity to not only see how the office side of the Company works but to step across the dividing line of the Northern Ballet building (well worth a visit if you have never seen it) into the studio side. I was to meet some of Friends of Northern Ballet whilst they had the privilege of sitting in on rehearsals of the Sinfonia as they put the finishing touches to the music for A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

The whole day was an experience to remember, whatever nerves I had about meeting the Friends were immediately dispelled with the first arrivals. It was clear that they were here because they all loved Northern Ballet; they were enthusiastic, friendly and above all appreciative of the opportunity to get closer to the performance.

The Sinfonia was incredible, when going to ballet performances in the theatre it is easy to take the music for granted, as simply a talented supporting act from somewhere out of sight for the main attraction, the dancers on stage. After seeing the amount of effort and sheer talent that goes into producing the music I will never again make the mistake of taking them for granted. The attention to the smallest details in hours of music was quite astonishing, those with more musical talent than I would probably have been able to follow the specifics, but for me it was enough to sit in awe of the talent of these musicians. I have never had the chance to sit so close to an orchestra, to hear the full blast of the sound and to see the details of each individual’s performance and it was truly a privilege.

It was also fantastic to see how much the Friends enjoyed the whole experience. Aside from it being an entertaining performance, the day also allowed us to really feel a part of Northern Ballet. It has certainly built my excitement about fulfilling the same role at Friday's performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Friends and I am thoroughly looking forward to seeing Northern Ballet’s interpretation of one of my favourite plays. 

The author of this article is Harry Kirwan, an intern with Northern Ballet and has recently graduated from the University of Exeter.

The views expressed in blogs are those of the author and not necessarily of Northern Ballet.