Today could, quite possibly, be hailed as the greatest day of work experience I will ever encounter, even when I’m actually working!!!
I arrived today bright and early at nine o’clock to be greeted by Simon, the Technical Manager of St David’s Hall. He put me in the capabilities of Emma, one of the technicians, and I was put straight to work lowering the lighting grids, and helping with the get-in (yep, you guessed it, the time where they get all the equipment in) for today’s show…“Fireman Sam: Pontypandy Rocks – LIVE!”.
This continued for a couple of hours, and over that time, I had been talking to the cast, who had been recalling memories of their tour so far, such as:
“Today, Robyn walked into the hotel room, looked around and said ‘Oh my God, there’s a microwave in our room!’ I rushed over straight away, took one look at the microwave and said ‘No, Robyn. That’s a safe.'”
Well…they were from Essex.
With the get-in complete, Simon and Emma took me to one side. “You just follow Emma.” Simon told me. I nodded and was led away. This part of the building was unfamiliar to me, so I had no idea of what was about to happen. All I knew was that we were walking up some stairs. “You don’t have a problem with heights, do you?” Emma asked. I nodded nervously, anticipating what was about to happen. “Okay, you’re going to be perfectly safe.” she told me, and after one last staircase I found myself standing in about 60ft above the auditorium, on the walkway bridges of the lighting rig.
Looking down, terror engulfed me, and each step I took was more nerve-wracking than the last. And the fact that my legs were shaking did nothing to calm the thoughts that I would trip and somehow drop to the ground below me. Eventually we reached the lights that we were going to be focusing, and I found myself becoming increasingly calm and my fear of heights seemed to dessipate, to my relief. And I had done it! Despite shaking fingers and a racing heart, I had calmly focused the lights – to a good standard I was told.
I then observed the plotting of the lights on the board and took my lunch break, and watched the 1:00pm performance of Fireman Sam from the lighting and sound desk, carefully observing Emma as she easily operated the lighting board, though the plan was fairly simple. Noticing this, I took a chance. If you don’t ask, you don’t get. “Emma, would it be alright if I operated the lights for the next performance?” Silence. “Yeah,” she told me, answering my prayers; but presenting me with another challenge: providing the lighting for a professional show for 11oo paying customers. The pressure was on. But, as I settled into my seat, I found myself in total focus and concentration, and it was only after the performance that I had realised what I had achieved – my first time lighting a professional show – and it went without a hitch!
After the second performance, a grin spread across my face and didn’t disappear until I realised that I wasn’t going to be there tomorrow. But there was more. I was invited back to a week placement in the Technical Department, which I hope to complete next summer. That smile wasn’t going anywhere now!
Terror, excitement and opportunity – now can you see why I called it the best day ever???