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5/9/18

“And Breathe”: Reflecting on my time as part of the Freedom Festival Team- Yasmin Knowles

So, the Freedom Festival is over. The tent is packed away, the signs are down, and the artists have travelled home. All that remains of the festival is sore feet and amazing memories. What an amazing weekend it has been!

When I look back at my time as part of the Freedom Festival Arts Trust team, I recognise the mass amount of learning and development I have made. When I started 8 weeks ago I was a nervous newly graduated student wondering what the ‘real’ working world would be like. There was no need to be anxious – the working world is a lot easier than I had built it up in my mind. An internship was the perfect way to start my career in the arts industry; I was given the time, understanding, and support throughout whilst still contributing to the team.

I have gained invaluable skills including a more comprehensive understanding of excel and budget management as well as the funding processes involved for a charity organisation; something which I may need to know about further down my career. I have also learnt about audience development and how crucial it is to know the area where you are presenting work; this allows for the art to be the most appropriate. For me, this can aid one of my career goals to set up a Theatre in Education; I now understand the importance of the placement of a company.

Not only have I learnt more administrative and company running information skills, but I have also learnt more practical skills. I have learnt how to work a radio on site at a busy festival (previously I have only used CANS in a theatre environment). This was a key part of my experience over the festival weekend; something which I feel I developed my confidence in using. More simply than that, I have developed my skill in speaking to professional delegates and international artists. I was given the opportunity to event manage Adhok’s ‘Immortels – L’Envol’. When I was told I would be left in charge of this show I felt a little anxious; I had previously assisted in their first two shows which taught us how fast paced and aware of what was happening you needed to be. The show was a dance procession which was split into three scenes across 3 locations. On the first show I set up the props for the second scene of three and all was well. Me and the company manager went to the end of the street to see the current location of the procession. When we turned back to return to the props as the procession was moving quickly towards us, we found children sitting on the chairs laid out, drinking the water and playing with the prop phones. At this point panic set in, the company manager ran towards the children shouting for them to “get off…get off”. Luckily there was just enough time for the children to move off and clear the space before the dancers arrived at the scene. We learnt from this experience and ensured that I would stay with the props to avoid this in further performances. By the fourth and final performance, me and the company had a wonderful relationship and I felt like a professional event manager. I even left the company feeling sad that the performances were over and I wouldn’t work on the show again.

I leave the festival behind with endless amounts of memories which I will treasure. I look back on the festival with pride at all the team has achieved. Returning to the office on Monday was a moment of realisation that it was all over; a cloud of sadness and hysteria overcame us all.

I can honestly say that I will miss the festival and the team when the internship ends. I will definitely return next year!

 

 

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