Preparing for the Internship (Fuel Theatre producing intern)

As I’ve mentioned before, this summer I am lucky enough to be working as Fuel Theatre‘s Producing Intern, for twelve weeks, working Wednesday – Friday, 10-6, from the week beginning the 20th July. Those of you who are aware of the date today (on the day this post goes live) will be aware that as you read this, I have already done all but one hour of my first week of work for them. However, I intend to blog about the internship a week behind real times, so I can be absolutely certain that the company are happy for me to publish whatever I may be writing online.

I’ve already written a post about how to get a producing internship (or at least how I got one), and over the summer I hope to share what you can expect from having one, and what I’m learning from each thing I do.

As I write this post, I haven’t yet started working in London, and I’m very excited and quite nervous. As the title suggests, this post is about preparation for the internship, and I want to share a little about the bigger scale planning (how to fund it, where to stay, being up to date on Fuel’s current projects…) and the littler things I’m thinking about (what to wear and bring etc.).

The biggest thing I needed to do to prepare myself is something I’ve been doing for a few months – finding a way to pay for travel to and from London, for travel within London, for food while I work etc, and how to live there for four days a week while not earning anything. The transportation costs for me will be travelling from my home city to London (about 3.5 hours on a coach) and back each week, and taking the tube from where I’m staying to work in central London and back. I will also be feeding myself for the four days a week in London. I have been working in the box office at the ADC theatre in Cambridge as a box office assistant, in order to set some money aside for this summer, but I’ve also been given help by others, which I must mention before I go on.

I’m incredibly privileged to have very generous friends who have offered sofas and/or air mattresses for 10 of the twelve sets of four days, and even more generous family, who have decided to spend their holidays in London for the other two sets of four days, which means that I am not paying rent in London while I’m working. To all the people hosting me – thank you, from the bottom of my heart, I really appreciate your generosity and assistance: I don’t know if I would be able to take on this placement without you.

I’m also incredibly lucky to go to a very generous university, who have special funding set aside for summer projects of merit, and bursaries for unpaid internships. So I also need to thank Newnham College, who have given me a bursary to assist with my transportation costs and food costs, and the University of Cambridge Careers Service, who have given me an Arts Bursary, for unpaid internships in the Arts and Heritage sector, who will cover the rest of the costs of my transportation and food.

I fully appreciate that not everyone who seeks a placement like this one is as able as I am to find help, and I cannot mention enough how grateful I am to everyone who is assisting me. But as this is also an advice blog, other areas which may help you fund an experience like this one include:

  • Part time work. Most unpaid arts internships are part time, so that you can work in order to support yourself the rest of the time, should you need to. (I will continue to do so to some extent, in the Box Office at the ADC theatre, alongside writing dissertation for my final year of university.)
  • University/college/school support. If you are in education, your institution may be able to support you. There is no harm in asking in any case (or applying, if there is funding to compete for).
  • Arts Council and other funding body support. Look into the different funding bodies in the arts and heritage sector, such as the Arts Council on a very large scale in the UK, or smaller local institutions. Some may have funding available, or be able to point you towards others who can help.

If you’re interested, I wrote a little more about this in my post on how to get a producing internship.

In terms of other important pre-placement preparation, I am also preparing by making sure I feel up to date with what the company is currently doing. This isn’t something they’ve asked me to do, but it will make me feel more confident that if I am asked to do something for x, I will be more able to. (It’s also something I strongly recommend before interviews!) In order to do this I have read through their website a few times closely, and I am continuing to follow their Twitter feed in detail.

The smaller scale things I’m thinking about are little worries about not looking silly. Trying to be as prepared as possible (e.g. knowing what the company is currently doing) are helpful for this, and remembering that I will be new and I’ll find my feet soon enough is also helpful. All I’ve been told so far is to make sure I bring a laptop, so I will definitely be doing that, and I’m also planning to bring a pencil case and notepad. In terms of what to wear, which is something which worries me probably more than it should, I’m trying to remember what the general vibe was when I attended my interview, which in my opinion seemed a smart casual style. What I will probably do is dress quite smartly at first, and adapt as appropriate when I’ve found my feet a little more.

I will hopefully see you next Friday with some information about how this week went, so stay tuned for that! I was also thinking I might write a response to this post, once I’ve finished the internship, so let me know in the comments if you’d be interested in that.

Emily xxx


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