work-experience

Work Experience Blog - Amelie

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In July 2019, Amelie from Kesgrave High School spent a week with us in the office. Here is her diary of the week…

Monday

I woke up this morning feeling incredibly anxious with a twisting feeling in my stomach. Going into a new unknown environment is always a little bit scary. However, when I rang the doorbell at Gecko this morning my stomach was put at ease, I was greeted by everyone in the office with keen energy. I started by familiarising myself with Gecko’s work by watching Taylor’s Dummies. This is an incredibly engaging piece with explosive visual effects - you really should give it a watch. After I had watched this we all went and had a cup of tea in the garden, i got the chance to ask the team some questions so I could get to know them better and the conversation was highly topical, discussing Mamma Mia and Grease as well! Later on I was given the task of sorting the tour dates on the website and making sure they were all up to date. I also had too chose some previous posters of Gecko’s work, which gave me the chance to look through the archives and further engage with the company. Looking forward to the rest of the week.

Tuesday

After having an awful night last night I was feeling down this morning. However, once I got into the Gecko office I felt immediately welcomed and looked forward to being able to take my mind off things and do some work. My first task for today was finding a picture for a new Instagram post about the Company Administrator vacancy. I chose a vibrant one from the Time of Your Life and wrote the caption. After this I co-created the Instagram story advertising the fact that the job admissions need to be in tomorrow. I enjoy working with social media so I found this task enjoyable and I am proud with how it looks. This afternoon I have been collecting data from Instagram insights and compelling them into a spreadsheet. I actually found this quite interesting as it gave me the view on how big Gecko’s work really is.

Wednesday

This morning I sat in on one of Mani and Pippa’s meetings. Here I saw one of Pippa’s many many spreadsheets which enclosed all the bookings for future workshops, which I helped her to update. After that I went to get lunch in town and had my favourite lunch yet: Greggs’ Mexican wrap (I am seriously enjoying the selection of food I have on my lunch breaks). After lunch I joined Pippa and Mani on a BSL (British Sign Language) class where I picked up a few signs including swimming, sandwich, wine, dog and bacon - the essentials! After this class I am interested in learning sign language and will look into where I can - I never thought I would have done that this week and I surprised myself with how interesting I found it!

Thursday

My second to last Gecko day! This week has gone so quickly - I’ve only just been able to wake up on time this morning. Today like my other days I was presented with tasks throughout the day, firstly doing my spreadsheet then compiling questions for a quiz. The quiz settled a bet between Steve and Pippa - but unfortunately they drew (I will have to write another one for tomorrow!).

In the afternoon I had the opportunity to interview Amit the artistic director of Gecko. This was interesting as it gave me more of an insight to Gecko’s creative development process.

Friday

Today is my last day at the Gecko office and I’m honestly going to miss it. Throughout my involvement within a working environment it has been significant to make sure all criteria are met to a high standard but this environment is not pressurised as everyone has been very easy to talk to which lead to some fun conversations.

I would highly recommend Gecko as a week for work experience! 

 

Work Placement Blog - Bethany

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In May 2019, we welcomed Bethany into the Gecko offices for a work placement. Here is her week, in her own words…

I arrived in Ipswich on Tuesday 27th of May after an hour-long journey from home (Essex). I was greeted by Hugh and Sarah, a lovely couple I was staying with during my placement, who live a fifteen-minute walk away from the Gecko Office- ideal!

I’m currently in my second year at Falmouth University studying ‘Theatre and Performance’ (BA Hons) and hope to build my own theatre company in my third year. This placement has helped me better understand the mechanics and administrative tasks that running a theatre company requires, and therefore, could not have come at a better time for me!

Before arriving at Gecko, I was filled with a mixture of nerves and excitement but was immediately put at ease by the friendly and welcoming staff at Gecko. I was given a tour of the office, a cup of tea and was introduced to everyone. I spent my week with Manwah (Mani) Siu, Administration and Digital Marketing Officer, Steve Allman- Head of Operations and Development and Pippa Fox- Projects and Participation Manager.

During my placement, I was given a variety of tasks such as reading over Gecko’s marketing pack for ‘The Wedding’, updating Gecko’s local school spreadsheet, attending a Marketing Meeting with Mani at Ipswich Town Hall, providing feedback on Gecko’s website, promotional videos and more. I felt like I was given genuine responsibility as a co-worker in the office and was able to ask any questions I liked.

This summer some of my course mates and I have formed the theatre company ‘Solo Theatre’ and are performing our show ‘Fragments’ as part of the Camden Fringe Festival (2019) and the Exeter Fringe Festival (2019). This placement was incredibly useful for gaining advice surrounding the administration tasks for taking performances touring to different venues. I had opportunities to talk to each staff member one to one to find out what their role is like and ask for specific information that will help my future career and upcoming festival projects. Pippa helped me explore Gecko’s SharePoint- this was incredibly useful to see how all their masses of documents and information is orgainsed. Mani provided me with really helpful advice on Solo Theatre’s social media accounts and marketing whilst Steve showed me spreadsheet examples on Excel and taught me how to operate a spreadsheet for my festival projects!

On my third day, (which was a sunny one), Amit Lahav dropped into the office, we sat outside, and I was able to ask questions surrounding the formation of Gecko, his artistic vision and if he had any advice for young theatre makers over a cup of tea. I felt very lucky to have had this opportunity and was left feeling inspired.

To end my Gecko experience, I took a trip with Steve and Pippa down to where Gecko’s new building is likely to be situated and was able to have a look at some of Gecko’s prop store in Ipswich- exciting! Before having some cake, and yes- more tea, to say goodbye.

This placement has been everything I hoped for and more- would definitely recommend!

Work Experience Blog - Leah

Over the course of the past week running from Monday 9th July 2018 – Friday 13th July 2018, I have been in an overwhelmingly privileged position to have worked with the office team at Gecko. Particularly because I knew the industry I was about to become a part of was one I aspire to become successful within, an immense wave of anxiety yet excitement was present.  

My first day with Mani and Pippa (Company Administrator and Project/Participation Manager) was very much about settling into a new environment.  Before approaching tasks, I

had a fairly relaxed morning, which consisted of exploring their online platforms, being given a quick tour of their quirky office (that has a number of props from previous shows – awesome!) and the three of us watching The Time of Your Life(also awesome!) which I then reviewed. I was then tasked with forming an updated Gecko contact list to learn about the various roles within the company. This gave me the opportunity to incorporate and develop other skills such as research that was achieved through searching: mails, invoices and the website itself, which took some time but was crucial to ensure all information was reliable.   

When meeting Joff (the General Manager), in similar fashion as to with Mani and Pippa, we discussed the arts by asking each other a series of questions. From this discussion and my ‘interview’ with Rosalind (Executive Producer), I can honestly say this group at the office – and Gecko as a collective – have had such a strong impact but have also been extremely welcoming that even when listening to meetings they encouraged me to ask questions, share opinions and to feel – to some extent – a part of their work. I’ve even expressed my creativity when decorating posters in the corridor, postcards in the office, taking photographs (thanks Mani for your patience when teaching me!), and investigating various web designs/information in preparation for flyers to be used in upcoming performances later in September.  

Throughout the week, it’s been important to make sure all criteria are met to a high standard, but it’s also been an incredible experience to have sensed the light-hearted joys too. For instance, we attended a festival launch event of another company, and had general fun conversations in the office.

The advice given throughout the week has definitely left me feeling much more confident in approaching what seems like a very closed-off industry. And although I have only spent 5 days at the office (…which quite frankly hopefully can say is one day my job!), it’s been an unforgettable learning curve which I’m blessed to have been given, and encourage anyone looking into the business to apply for a space, go to a performance or book a workshop! Thank you.

Work Experience Blog - Lydia

For my work experience I knew I wanted to do something performing arts based. I was recommended Gecko by quite a few people so I decided to apply to do my work experience for a week here after having a look at some of the previous breathtaking work. I am really glad I chose to spend my week at Gecko as I have really enjoyed it and I have learnt so much being here.

Prior to my work experience, I had a short interview with the General Manager Joff which allowed me to introduce myself and gain an understanding of what I would be doing over the course of the week. The interview was informal and quite relaxed which ensured me that my week would be stress-free and enjoyable. As soon as I entered the building on Monday morning, I felt instantly welcomed by Pippa and Mani who gave me a tour around the workplace and helped me settle in. The office is well decorated with many posters of Gecko productions and a number of props in the building that were used in previous shows which I thought was nice addition to the space.

I spent my first morning in the office watching some videos on the Gecko Youtube channel and making myself familiar with the social media pages and the website. I watched a performance of The Overcoat which is an excellent production that toured from 2009-2011. I wrote a review on this piece and analysed it to show my personal interpretation of it. I really enjoyed watching this performance as much like the rest of Gecko’s work, it is very unique and brilliantly crafted to grasp the audience’s attention throughout.

During my work experience, I got the privilege to sit and listen to some meetings. It was interesting to see how everyone worked as a team to discuss and plan how they were going to overcome any dilemmas. I also looked at some of the spreadsheets Pippa created to do with education bookings and used the information to list down the total number of bookings in each category for each year. Doing this made it clear how much the company has grown over time and how the number of workshops has increased a lot. I also got the privilege to handle Gecko’s Twitter page and I created a photo album on Facebook which I found fun being able to discover many different theatre companies and see all the varied performances that will be put on at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. We discussed how social media has changed over time and during this I made some social media suggestions to the company.

I had the opportunity to meet the other staff members at Gecko and interviewed the executive producer Rosalind and asked her various questions about her job to gain an understanding of what her role is and how she got to this position. I personally found it interesting listening to her explaining the aspects of her job as this is something I could refer back to if I decide in the future that this is the route I wish to go down. Everyone at Gecko was always willing to answer my questions and always made the effort to help me if was unsure on anything whilst completing tasks which made me feel very comfortable and created a very relaxed environment. Moreover, in group discussions I felt very involved as I was encouraged to share my opinion and also ask relevant questions to the topic to further my understanding. I also spent some time reading reviews of the outstanding show ’Missing’ and gathered some international press quotes to be used for a flyer, and I got an insight on the graphic design and looked at a flyer for the show as well. I suggested possible improvements to be made and got to see how long it takes to actually create a flyer and how it mostly consists of slight tweaking to make sure things look lined up correctly.

Overall, I have had a great experience spending the week at Gecko. As well as getting on with completing tasks I had been set over the week, everyone has been very easy to talk to which allowed me to engage in some fun conversations whilst I have been here. I would recommend Gecko to anyone who is interested as it is one of the best experiences I have had in understanding the world of work, and it is a very relaxed environment to be in, the team really helped to make my week very enjoyable.

After spending my week here, it has made me want to see a Gecko performance live on stage as I loved watching the performances available online and I think I would appreciate it even more now that I have a further understanding of the work that goes into creating a performance. I am extremely privileged to be able to have spent my work experience here at Gecko, I have enjoyed every minute!

Work Experience Blog - Issy

Despite only spending three days working at Gecko, I feel as if I’ve learned a lot about working in the more admin-orientated side of theatre. I kicked things off by scrolling through Gecko’s website, and familiarising myself with Gecko’s past and present work.

I then spent the remainder of my three days in an office, with a varying cast of interesting people, learning how to use Excel spreadsheets; something I’d been blissfully naïve of before starting at Gecko... ahahah. No, I actually felt as if I was gaining relevant transferable skills, I was pulling together a whole bunch of data from various different places to create a database of information on Schools and Universities, which would be useful for Gecko in the future when arranging tours and organising workshops.

It was also actually quite satisfying to how much data I’d accumulated in such a short period of time. I rounded off my work experience by interviewing Belinda about Gecko, and tried to unravel the mystery behind why the company is called Gecko (Belinda deduced it has something to do with similarities between the physical theatre/unique movement aspect of Gecko and an actual, literal, gecko). She also talked me through their business plan, which was interesting, and gave me an insight into the inner workings of a company.

I’ve enjoyed my time at Gecko, I feel as if I’ve learnt a lot in a small amount of time, and it has definitely furthered my I.T. skills and work place confidence. I’m extremely keen to experience a Gecko show in real life; to see the final product that everyone has helped contribute towards.