Leaving school and want to work at the Globe? On being a Globe Education Assistant
Our Globe Education Assistant roles offer school leavers an exciting opportunity to gain invaluable experience working in a leading arts organisation. Through supporting the daily activities of the Education department for one year, they develop key skills in administration, communication and team work in a supportive environment, and make a valuable contribution to the work of the Globe.
Here Dorothy McDowell, a Globe Education Assistant in the Learning Projects team, talks about her experiences of the programme so far.
In my last two years at school, I switched my choice of degree subject once; country of study twice; and actual university roughly every hour, on the hour – but the idea of a gap year never seriously occurred to me. I like drama, I like books and I like writing: it was university or bust. Then, in the middle of my sentence of death-by-prolonged-study-leave, my mother suddenly turned round, job advert column in hand, and said:
“Would you fancy working at the Globe Theatre?”
The answer to this was an unequivocal ‘yes’ – I come from a small village in rural Northern Ireland, and anyone familiar with small villages in rural Northern Ireland will tell you that the nearest thing they have to an arts industry is a country-and-western tribute act, and a slightly contentious marching band. So, I threw my mind back to summer holidays spent standing in the rain at arts festivals trying to persuade visitors not to touch the cows; raked up a few anecdotes; and applied.
I then spent the next month determinedly telling people that I didn’t actually expect to get the job and I just thought it would be funny to apply, ok? This became slightly more challenging when I got an email inviting me to a Skype interview; followed a second invitation, to fly over to London; and finally a phone call telling me that I had got the job. I am now the proud owner of the title of ‘Globe Education Assistant – Learning Projects (Community)’; I have a place at Oxford; I have seen 38 shows since September; and if you sit still for long enough I will recite a brief performance history of All’s Well That Ends Well at you.
When people ask me what my job entails, I find that the most humane policy is usually to check that they don’t have anywhere urgent they need to be before starting in; it is too varied to be susceptible of a ready explanation. Some days I type up so many spreadsheets that I am able to astound all and sundry with my encyclopaedic knowledge of the differing views on Oberon as held by the under 5s; other days I hear sentences like, “Please can you mind this drum I’m going to the basement to look for some confetti and a lion mask” coming out of my mouth.
The project that’s uppermost in my mind at the moment is the infamous ‘Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank’. In the course of the pre-show marketing I called and spoke to almost every SEN school in London (thus putting paid to my previous, “Mum, can you ring the dentist for me?” attitude, but also increasing the number of pupils with special educational needs who came to see the show; so, no, I will not shut up about it). My role during the actual run of the show was to hand out programmes to the assembled school groups – a job which began with a radio call that could be roughly translated as, “More children than you can possibly imagine have just arrived on the Southbank; please do something with them”, and ended with me running up and down Bankside in a high-vis jacket.
But my absolute favourite bit of the job is the Southwark Youth Theatre. I am their Company Manager, and spend Saturday mornings alternating between joining in with their drama games (at which I am unforgivably terrible) and shouting, “Is this what silence sounds like? I don’t think this is what silence sounds like.” I got the cast list for their summer term show this morning, and I was so excited I had to stop and have a quiet word with myself about priorities and what order they should be in – I do not know when I got this invested, but I love it.
I am rather hindered in my attempts to describe my job by the fact that I am not one for mush. There is much to be said for the sight of children who have never been in a theatre before standing onstage in A Concert for Winter, or for classes of bored teenagers cheering for Beatrice and Benedick; but I will always try to avoid saying it. But I will say this: ten months ago I had never set foot in the Globe Theatre. I am not intrepid; I am not well-connected; I had never had a job before. I applied for this on a whim; something I would like to do, but something I did not stand a chance of getting.
Two months later, I stood on the banks of the River Thames – with the moon rising in the background, and St Paul’s reflected in the water behind me – looking up at the most beautiful theatre in the world.
Make excuses to your family if you would like; do not tell your friends if you would prefer; but if you would like to do this job: apply.
We are currently looking for school leavers who would like to develop careers in the arts or education for our Globe Education Assistant roles. For a full job description and to apply, please visit the Jobs page of our website.