The Corner Shop

3rd July 2019

by Nicole Darvill-Batten

Theatre is extraordinary isn’t it? Stirring. Inspiring. Exhilarating. No words quite do justice to the experience of seeing something live on stage. If you get the bug, it won’t leave you alone because theatre is, in essence, addictive.

I have adored the performing arts since I was a child and since deciding against attempting to be an actual performer, I studied playwriting for three years. As a career path, playwriting is just as competitive as acting and being a full-time playwright is not something that appeals to me. I want to be active in the industry in other ways but I’ve not been sure where to start.

When university life came to an end a few months ago – an anxiety-filled time as it is – I began to feel irrationally protective of myself, and applied for sales jobs and positions I’d never even heard of. As I ironed my blazer in the kitchen, I would tell my housemates ‘I have an assessment day for X job tomorrow!’ to which they’d simply laugh and ask ‘Why?’. They knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do and saw right through my false enthusiasm, aware that it was purely a front for the sheer desperation to find a job. Any job. Looking back, I can recognise that this was all an attempt to distract myself from the part of my heart which knew what I really wanted – needed – to anchor my career in.

As a student, I regularly wrote theatre reviews and was familiar with The Corner Shop through their PR correspondence. With limited knowledge of what arts PR involved, I contacted them about an internship, popped in for an interview and started in June.

So far, it has been an exceptionally valuable experience. Not only is the workload diverse, excitingly fast-paced and rewarding, but the company is genuinely good at what it does. Everyone here is hard-working and friendly, providing daily pressure-free training and advice. In just a few days, I’ve got to grips with media monitoring, research tasks, review round-ups and a great deal else. And I know I’ve only scratched the surface: there are press nights, campaign meetings, communication strategies, TV and radio work and an abundance of other elements in the PR world. My housemates can certainly attest to a significant change in my mood since being here.

This experience has given me insight into a side of the industry which I hadn’t seen before and never would have without this opportunity. It has shown me a job that I know I can do and more importantly, that I really enjoy. Being on or backstage is only a fraction of what makes theatre the beautiful beast I long to be a part of. And it’s screaming out to be explored.

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