Our experience working at the Kirkgate

Written by Anna and Merryn

We both decided that we wanted to go to the Kirkgate for work experience because we are both interested in the arts and especially in theatre and film. We both have experiences in the arts that take place in school and we would like to expand our knowledge in what we want to do for our futures. Anna takes music as a GCSE along with art, and in her spare time she does piano. Merryn takes part in drama both at, and way from school. She is also an amazing singer and has an overall love for films and music. With this combined passion we have really enjoyed our time working here. The staff have been lovely and they clearly love their jobs, as they put so much effort into making the Kirkgate a welcoming environment for everyone.

On Monday we started off by looking round the building and getting to see all the different rooms and their purposes. Then we helped set up the stage for a film happening in the evening. To finish we were able to see the projection room and all the controls that make up the whole cinema experience. It made us see how technical it can be, as we had never thought of the behind the scenes of showing films.

Next we got to talk to Chris, the Artistic Director and he showed us the ins and outs of his job and the whole process of getting acts. He has to book people well in advance and he needs to pick out a variety of musicians and actors to suit different people and ages. We also got to see the Kirkgate’s online booking system and we were able to upload some upcoming films that they are going to show. In fact one of them called ’Baby Driver’ intrigued us when we watched the trailer!

After that we talked to the Marketing Officer, Dani Boniface who let us take over the Kirkgate social media for the day to experiment with ways to get younger people 'involved online' and we created the Kirkgate’s first Instagram story to show people what we have been up to. Now we know the influence and importance of social media for promotion and to share what’s on offer.  

On Thursday we worked with Business and Finance Manager Nichola, who is in charge of securing funds for the Kirkgate and overseeing donations - especially for the renovation project. She wanted us to work on the donations page on the website and come up with ides on how they could develop it to attract more people. She researched our ideas and drew up our designs for a better looking donations page. She showed us that even websites need to be carefully looked at to get the most interest and publicity.

On Friday we went around town with Gilli, the General Manager, handing out posters and leaflets to local shops about Cockermouth School choir and band. We made sure to go for the shops that would attract our target audience. Gilli was open to our ideas and places we thought more young people would see them. This showed us how to gain more publicity and how to attract certain people. Then we helped sort out letters to Youth Theatre members about activities happening over the summer.

After having this week away we have experienced the roles of almost all of the staff at the Kirkgate we have been able to practice working independently and as a group. We feel we both understand the concepts of running an organisation because we hadn't realised how much each person takes on. We are really thankful to everyone at the Kirkgate (and their endless supply of tea and biscuits), as we have had an amazing work experience.

Thank you! A & M