The Royal Exchange Theatre recently welcomed four new arrivals to the organisation who have come to us through a number of exciting, different pathways. As part of the theatre’s commitment to engaging with individuals who may not otherwise access the arts, we have worked with several partner organisations to create four new employment opportunities.

RossHoldawayTrailblazePlacementRoss Holdaway joined us in April 2015 as part of the Trailblaze initiative that offers part-time jobs to young people, who may not otherwise access the arts, in cultural organisations (in the spirit of the ‘Saturday job’). Working with Curious Minds and Factory Youth Zone (Harpurhey) we identified that Ross, from Cheetham Hill, would benefit most from the opportunity that is tailored towards the needs and aspirations of the young person. Throughout the 12 week placement (6 hours per week) working on Front of House, Ross will also work towards an Arts Awards to enhance his CV for future employment.

Working in partnership with Venture Arts, we also created an opportunity for Amy Ellison and Liam Ashworth to join us in March 2015. Venture Arts are a Manchester based visual arts organization who work with individuals with learning disabilities. The work placement programme places individuals for one day per week, over 12 weeks, in a cultural organisation (with a support worker from Venture Arts) to develop a programme of activity and work experience. The Royal Exchange is the first theatre to work with Venture Arts on the scheme and Amy and Liam are currently working towards working on the relaxed performance of THE GHOST TRAIN in June and delivering a short tour for friends and family at the end of their placement.

Following on from the success of our recent apprentices (who are all now employed with us) Zak Clifford joined us at the end of March as an I.T. Apprentice. Working with Arch Apprentices, who combine young talent with great employers to create valuable and productive employees in entry level IT and Digital jobs and backed by the Government’s Apprenticeship Programme, we created a 12 month apprentice position for Zak who will also complete a qualification during his time with us (supported by Computeam).

Whilst our new arrivals have been with us they have contributed to a blog about their day-to-day activity. Here are some excerpts from their experience so far:

AmyLiamVentureArtsPlacementLiam Ashworth (Venture Arts Work Placement)

The photo above is of me and Amy working on Information Point with Janet from the Friends volunteers. In the photo we are helping to count how much money there is in the float to make sure that we have the right amount.

At the very beginning of my time at the Royal Exchange, Chris Wright gave me a tour around the building and I’ve also had the chance to watch a show called ANNA KARENINA. My work at the Information Point includes counting the amounts of each item to make sure we have the correct amount in stock as well as the correct amount of money, We also help bring in more programmes from the Green Room. Next week we are going to have a look at other departments including Wardrobe, Props & Settings, and Costume Hire.

I’m also going to be doing a tour here at the end of my placement and I’m looking forward to that. I will be working FOH on, and watching, a matinee of THE GHOST TRAIN, which I’m very excited about. I shall also be attending an ushering session to help usher for the play when we do a ‘relaxed performance’ on 9th June.

ZakCliffordITApprenticeZak Clifford (I.T. Apprentice)

Posted April 7, 2015
On my first day, I went on a tour of the building and “Wow! What a building it is!” I would advise anybody to come down and have a tour of the building. I went round meeting everyone. After lunch, I was shown how to install the new printer and scanner on my computer. I was set a task to carry this out for colleagues on the third floor and give them a demonstration on how to print and scan retrieve print jobs. Looking forward to tomorrow!

Posted April 10, 2015
I have been assigned the task of installing the new printer and photocopier to all the staff around the building so far the 3rd floor is 95% complete as some colleagues are on holiday over the Easter break… At about 11:45am we had a phone call from Swan Street saying that their phones are not working. They can’t receive and make calls externally but they can internally. We got our walking boots on and went up to the Swan Street building…

Posted April 17, 2015
We had a call from the Crew Room saying there computer had died. Luckily enough I had just configured their new PC for them the day before. We collected some items from our department including two new monitors, base units with new mouse and keyboard, a small 5 port network switch (as we knew there weren’t enough RJ45 outlets) and set off to the crew room…

Ross Holdaway (Trailblaze Placement)

Posted Saturday 25 April
Today, I took photos of the stage and counted the programmes before the matinee show of ANNA KARENINA. I also talked to the Front of House Manager about the show. Today, I am going to show people to their seats for the first time.

Posted Saturday 2 May
Today, I counted the brochures and the programmes. It is the last performances of ANNA KARENINA today. I also gave brochures to the Information Point. I showed people to their seats again before the matinee and served teas and coffees, for the first time, at the interval.

Posted Saturday 16 May
Today, I helped Lynne Yates, Front of House Manager, count the programmes for the new show THE GHOST TRAIN. I also helped sort the clipboards for the ushers. I took the audience to their seats again and worked on a different staircase which was ok.