Caroline talks about her experience as an Omnibus intern…
My name is Caroline and I’ve been an intern at Omnibus Theatre for the last nine weeks. I’m currently enrolled at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama doing a Masters Program in Creative Producing and as part of our studies, we were encouraged to do a placement in a theatre. When looking into placement opportunities, I decided to try working at a small venue where I could learn real hands-on skills and get the most out of my relatively short internship. And, indeed, Omnibus has been quite hands-on.
On my very first day, while producer Juliet Clark was telling me about the current projects, she suddenly said: “Oh and by the way, we have an opportunity come up to program a Short Film night for our LGBT+ festival Unnatural Acts. It’s happening in three weeks time. Do you want to take charge of that?”
My first reaction was: What? Shouldn’t I be making tea?
Obviously I said yes.
Being in charge of an evening, however small it might have been, was really exciting and taught me more about producing than any handbook could have. I had autonomy to choose the artists involved, organise the evening, write the deal sheets, prepare the tech, host the night…. Not many venues have the ability to give their interns real responsibilities like that. Of course, this sometimes felt overwhelming, but I was always able to ask for help and the evening turned out to be a great success.
So, what do interns do at Omnibus?
Every intern is attached to one or two specific projects. Over your time here you might start by supporting the marketing campaign of a show, researching its audiences, and eventually drafting contracts for the actors involved. The beauty of this is that you see the development of a production and you become part of its journey. This enables you to take on more complex tasks, as you can see the connections and have an understanding of the subject itself.
A big part of my time here at Omnibus was assisting our marketing department. I would draft tweets, take Instagram pictures, even come up with marketing campaigns myself. There is something very empowering about seeing your ideas come to life. I remember how proud I felt when I saw one of my tweets online.
Of course, not all the tasks you do here sound exciting to begin with. As every intern in the world knows, there is printing to be done, flyers to be sorted, or errands to be run. However, the people here always understood that these tasks are just as vital and the amount of appreciation I have received here has been very refreshing.
There is a reason why the Omnibus is able to take on so many interns: they know what it means to be one. Many of the people working here started off as interns and there’s a real sense of commitment in them. For instance, Rhian (Creative Learning Producer) checked in with me every other week to make sure I was still hitting my learning goals. And if I wanted to learn something specific, I would always be able to ask for a related task.
Being an intern at Omnibus has been an incredible experience. I have developed as a producer and grown more self-confident in my abilities. Overall, if I had to pick one thing that has stood out the most from my time here, it’s the people. It’s surprising how heartwarming, hard working, kind and full of laughter everyone here is. As interns, we are a vital part of this organization and after nine weeks I really feel as if I have become part of this team. I can only encourage everyone to come and visit this vibrant place.
My top 10 tips for getting the most out of your time at Omnibus?
1. Be proactive. Be curious.
2. Ask. No one can help you if you don’t say you need help.
3. Do you want to learn something specific? Ask. Tell someone about it and ask for a related task.
4. Be brave. Ask to learn things that you cannot do yet.
5. Don’t look down on ‘boring tasks’ – They are just as vital.
6. Don’t be shy to ask for advice, guidance or training. You’re here to learn, not to perform.
7. Go and watch stuff at the place you work! Why wouldn’t you?
8. Socialise with the people you work with. You might end up with vital industry connections. Or even better, friends.
9. Keep a journal of your internship and reflect – you’ll be surprised how quickly the time passes
10. An Internship will always only be as wonderful as you make it. So make the best out of it.