Of chalk drawings and Henry IV Part 1

Isabel Feeney, English undergraduate at King’s and one of the winners of this year’s Cultural Challenge, reflects on her internship at the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Judges for the 2014 final (image by David Tett)

Judges for the 2014 final (image by David Tett)

My internship at the Royal Shakespeare Company has definitely been a learning curve, but it is an opportunity I could never have imagined and an experience I’ll never forget. I came into the internship with very little knowledge of working in a theatre but it’s something I’d always known I’d love to do, and I wasn’t wrong. Working at the RSC is amazing – it’s such a friendly, creative environment and the hectic atmosphere of the theatre is something I enjoy. It’s also challenging: I was given quite a bit of responsibility and freedom to come up with some ideas of my own for the Events & Exhibitions department. Although this was incredibly daunting, it was also rewarding and I’m excited now to see some of my ideas become a reality. I’ve had a lot of support throughout my internship and am getting to work alongside some seriously talented and creative members of the team.

I secured the internship following my pitch in the King’s Cultural Challenge, in which I proposed that the RSC, along with the other cultural partners in the challenge, use heritage to engage wider audiences. It was clear that the Events & Exhibitions team had read my proposal and taken into consideration what I was particularly interested in because I was given the task of finding a way to connect RSC visitors to the heritage of the building, something I found really interesting and loved researching.

Isabel's Tempest themed mural

Isabel’s Tempest themed mural

A big part of my role at the RSC has been helping with their summer family offering, Stratford-on-Sea. I worked closely with Laura Keating (Events & Exhibitions Officer), observing what was planned for this year and how it was received. I did have to work a couple of Sundays but I actually found this to be the fun part, seeing each event play out, especially when it meant helping to draw a Tempest themed mural on the Bancroft Terrace with chalk as part of the Stratford on Sea family events programme. The purpose of this was so that I could come up with some ideas for next year – very nerve wracking but I’ve started to develop some initial concepts with the team and hopefully I’m doing OK so far!

One of the best parts about being an RSC employee is that you get free tickets to each performance – yes, really! I managed to see Henry IV Part I, The Roaring Girl and Arden of Faversham, which were obviously all brilliant and definitely worth seeing. The Roaring Girls Season at the Swan was especially great and just proves the RSC’s commitment to interpreting Elizabethan theatre for a modern audience. Another highlight was listening in on a talk about Buzz Goodbody, the RSC’s first female director, with Erica Whyman (Deputy Artistic Director), Richard Santy and Buzz’s brother. I find Buzz to be such an inspiration: she believed that Shakespeare should be for everyone and broke into a male dominated sector to direct some truly groundbreaking productions.

I can’t believe I’m already half way through my internship, I’ve learned so much about the RSC and the creative process that I know will prove invaluable throughout my life.

King's Cultural Challenge 2014 winners and judges (image by David Tett)

King’s Cultural Challenge 2014 winners and judges (image by David Tett)



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