University of Huddersfield undergraduate Nicole Segar, talks about her experience on work placement with the technical department at The Civic in Barnsley, which led to a boost in confidence and job opportunity at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Since opening as Barnsley’s independent multi-purpose arts venue in 2009, The Civic has been passionate about providing flexible work experience, to further the skills and employability of those who wish to work in the competitive arts industry. The 20-year-old Contemporary Arts degree student from Warrington explains The Civic: “was the best choice for me as it was the only theatre that was offering a placement longer than two weeks.”
Working alongside The Civic’s Technical team; Huw Williams & Ines Minkiewicz, Nicole was able to create her own technical designs for events and liaise with professional touring theatre companies. She explains: “I learned real life skills that can’t be taught in a classroom and will be able to implement in my final year at university.”
When asked what she enjoyed most about working within the independent and charitable arts organisation, Nicole shared her admiration for The Civic’s technical team: “They treated me like part of the team and trusted me with responsibilities to programme and run shows. I felt valued from day one and found that working ‘in the real world’ can be great fun when you are doing something you enjoy and your team are a good bunch.”
This encouragement and support from the staff at The Civic had a positive impact on the student’s own insecurities: “My work placement at The Civic gave me a chance to regain my confidence and trust in my own abilities. I am now able to cope with a variety of difficult situations and have valuable experience that other graduates won’t”.
From this boost in confidence, her time at The Civic enabled Nicole to realise what she would really like to do after her studies: “Having experienced this side of theatre work, I now understand that what I enjoy so much about theatre is the creation of it. I think I would like to become a member of a theatre company.”
The Civic’s Technical Manager, Huw Williams explains:
“As well as gaining hands on experience at The Civic, Nicole chose the best time to be on placement here; when touring company Icarus Theatre mentioned that they were looking for a lighting technician. Consequently, Nicole will have the enviable task of spending next month at the Edinburgh Festival working on their production of ‘The Trials of Galileo’, seen here at The Civic last February. We wish her well, both in Edinburgh (none of us are at all jealous) and in her final year at Huddersfield Uni.”
And so, Nicole’s advice for students who are thinking about taking on a work placement: “Take the initiative to do as much as you can. Networking is a creative’s best-friend. Don’t pass up any opportunity and talk to the companies as it may lead to future opportunities, it did for me!”
For more information about work placement opportunities at The Civic contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Box Office on 01226 327000.