sw voices


In this month’s instalment of Sadler’s Wells Voices, we shine a light on Duty House Manager Gigi Giannella. Gigi joined us back in 1999 working in Housekeeping. He later moved to Front of House and became Duty House Manager for the Lilian Baylis Studio.

Alongside this, Gigi dedicates his time and stellar photography skills capturing the many faces and lives of our Front of House team – curated in a heart-warming collection entitled the ‘Usher Project’. We asked about his experience working in Front of House and took a closer look into his creative ventures at Sadler’s Wells and the inspiration behind them.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I moved to London from Italy in 1999, with the aim of learning the language. To support myself, I started working at Sadler’s Wells – first in the Housekeeping department, then with the Front of House team. This gave me the opportunity to get interested in contemporary dance. At the same time, I was studying photography, so I naturally started combining dance in my photography practice. This led to me getting commissioned to document numerous community dance projects and various companies, including a number of projects for the Learning and Engagement team and National Youth Dance Company.

Tell us about the “Usher Project”. What it is, and what was the inspiration behind it?

Having worked as a Front of House Assistant and Deputy House Manager for quite some time, I have always found the diverse mixture of people that I worked with fascinating. Most of the ushers have different kinds of lives, different jobs and many skills that are unknown to most. It felt like, once the usher uniform is worn, you lose your ‘identity’. I thought that this project would be a good way to celebrate the different energies that are part of the makeup of Sadler’s Wells.

Jasmine Khalia, ‘Usher Project’. Image: Gigi Giannella

At the same time, I have enjoyed engaging with audiences, especially patrons that felt like Sadler’s Wells was almost a second home for them. Many patrons had grown to know me (and some of my long-term colleagues) in this environment. They enjoyed being welcomed by recognisable faces for sure, but at the same time I always felt it was very surface level, as they didn’t really know who the ushers were.

Amy Bentley Klein, ‘Usher Project’. Image: Gigi Giannella

Often I would bump into the same people around town or at other venues and they seemed surprised to see me out of the Sadler’s Wells context. There is a view that we work full-time for the theatre, but in reality, holding even a few part-time jobs nowadays is very common, especially in the arts sector.

Joel O’Donoghue. ‘Usher Project’. Image: Gigi Giannella

Were there any surprises or valuable insights that this project brought about?

I really enjoyed working on this project as I approached it with an open mind, not believing it to be just my project, but a collaboration between myself and the subjects.

Jane Chan, ‘Usher Project’. Image: Gigi Giannella

My only brief to the guys was that we were going to shoot inside or around the theatre (the only area I didn’t want to shoot was the stage and I made that clear to everyone) and that everyone should choose the part of the building they preferred most. It was interesting to see how everyone has a different location where they like to work.

Jairo Zaldua, ‘Usher Project’. Image: Gigi Giannella

Another important factor was for everyone to bring something that represented themselves or their day-to-day life and with this, I tried telling their stories. Collaborating together was a nice way to work on this project. In a way, it is like how a choreographer works with their dancers – a dialogue where everyone puts forward their skills and knowledge to achieve a final result.

Takeshi Matsumoto, ‘Usher Project’. Image: Gigi Giannella

What are you currently working on/ what is next for you?

I would try to explore this project further, whether it’s with other departments at Sadler’s Wells, or even trying to expand it to other theatres. I have a few things in my mind, but it’s still early days. I am working out an idea about runners and running (another passion I have) and I am slowly getting around how to approach it.

Ewa Lamond, ‘Usher Project’. Image: Gigi Giannella

What advice would you give to other aspiring photographers or, more broadly, to people looking to make their way into the creative industries?

Mainly that it’s not an easy industry, but it can give you great rewards. It’s a great place to test your capabilities and to experience lots of various things and meet a different spectrum of people.

Lorea Burge Badiola, ‘Usher Project’. Image: Gigi Giannella

More of Gigi’s work can be found via his website and Instagram.

SW Voices: Katy Stephens, Events Sales Executive

Katy Stephens joined us in September 2018 as Events Sales Executive. With over 20 years’ experience in London’s conference and events industry, in her new role Katy focuses on maximising opportunities for Sadler’s Wells’ spaces as hire venues and searching for new clients.

Hi Katy, could you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I was born and bred in a small coastal village in Essex. After miserably failing my A-Level exams, a friend suggested that I should enrol on to a BTEC National Diploma in Hotel Management, Hospitality and Operations. I had the best time there, learning not only all the aspects of hotel management, but also how to cook, plan menus, and run restaurants and bars. After college, I went on to do a management training programme, rotating in various departments in different hotels until I decided to focus on Front of Office and Reception.

Within a couple of years and with further progression, I became Conference and Event Manager at an independently-owned, four-star hotel in South Kensington. Apart from the hotel sector, I also worked in the catering industry, corporate hospitality and event management, holding positions such as Regional Sales Manager and Senior Events Manager supervising spaces like ExCel London and working on prestigious events such as the London Boat Show, the Classic Car Show and World Travel Market.

A key moment in my career was when I joined the events team at the Hilton London Metropole, where I had the opportunity to arrange one of my most memorable events: the organisation and event management of the Olympic Sponsors, VISA, in 2012. I was lucky enough to attend the Opening Ceremony!

From setting up hospitality and VIP dining in a tent to sumptuous banquets in the Hinze Hall at the Natural History Museum, the list is of events I managed is endless, and each one was completely different! I’ve worked in Front of House to greet guests, but also put the gloves on, and helped the team clear plates and glasses. That’s how this industry works!

Have you noticed any difference working at an arts organisation compared to working in a more corporate setting? Was there anything particular about Sadler’s Wells that drew you in?

First of all, the atmosphere is much more relaxed at Sadler’s Wells compared to a corporate setting. The environment in the office is a joy to work in, with many laughs and discussions on the wide and varied range of events that we hold. This is not to say that working here comes without challenges. The deadlines for venue availability are ever-changing, making some of the sales aspects a little more difficult.

Also, as my background is more corporate, it has been hard to ensure that we are targeting the right market sector for the spaces. This has involved going down the more artistic route, hunting out contacts and looking for business in areas where I had not ventured before! It’s great that I have the opportunity to work with a new type of business and learn the way of working within a theatre environment, where each event enquiry is unique.

Before coming to Sadler’s Wells, I was briefly exposed to event management in the arts. During a temporary contract with a leading catering company, I worked with the Event teams organising The Brits Awards 2018 at the O2 and the Mercury Music Awards 2018 at the Eventim Apollo. When the opportunity to join an exclusive artistic venue like Sadler’s Wells arose, it was too good to miss.

You joined the events team in September. What does your job entail? What are the most exciting and challenging aspects of it?

Since joining the team, I have been asked to take a more proactive role to ensure that we are up to date with our online listings for both venue information and availability and to increase the number of enquiries that we receive.

The additional capacity within the Events team since I joined also means that we can now be more involved with our partners at Unique Venues of London, London City Selection and London Chamber of Commerce and Industry and their activities. I regularly attend the members’ meetings and search for opportunities to work and network with them, and open up the venue spaces to a wider audience who maybe didn’t know about all of the facilities that we have available for hire. Our goal is to maximise the use of all our spaces through bookings from corporate and commercial business

I have always firmly believed that ‘people buy from people’ and that, if you are confident and believe in your product, your clients will be more inclined to go with you as a venue.

What advice would you give to people thinking of pursuing a career in event management in the arts?

Be prepared to learn and be quick! In the events and catering industry you are always learning. It is an industry that is ever-changing.

Be mindful that event management in the arts world is not the same as in the corporate environment. Therefore, learn the rules! Have an understanding of how systems work in each setting and what you need to get in order to make a complete and concise proposal. Make sure you copy in all relevant colleagues to emails and correspondence, as in this environment it is a 24/7 operation. Event management is not a Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job! To be a successful event manager, be prepared to work hard and often long hours.

Have the memory of an elephant. You will have hundreds of conversations in an hour and someone will always come back and say, “You know that thing you mentioned…”. If you are not sure, write it down!

SW Voices: Serina Lopez

Serina Lopez joined us in October 2017 as a participant in STEP – Shared Training and Employment Programme. The initiative, aimed at young East Londoners, is funded by London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) and delivered by Creative Jobs. Sadler’s Wells is one of eight host employers, including universities and cultural organisations, partnering to provide a two-part, 12-month paid internship in the creative sector. Serina has just finished her placement with Sadler’s Wells, and was successfully brought on as an assistant with Rambert Dance Company, where she starts later this month. 

Hi Serina, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I completed my degree in Illustration in 2013 and soon after that I fell seriously ill – which kind of derailed my career plans. Looking back, I feel like that time gave me a chance to think about what I really wanted to do. I was interested in making clothes, so I decided to go to tailoring college. I had an internship on Savile Row for a bit – I learnt how to pattern cut from the director, it was amazing. After that I was pursuing different creative jobs, and while looking around I found out about the Creative Opportunities Programme. It’s a two-week pre-employment programme where they take a group of young people around different arts organisations.

How did you find out about STEP, and was there anything about Sadler’s Wells that particularly drew you in?

Everyone on the Creative Opportunities Programme was talking about this initiative called STEP, which I hadn’t heard of, so I looked into it. They work with loads of different creative and arts organisations in London; it seemed ideal. There was a lot of competition, but I applied and was accepted.

In the application form, you choose certain categories and you’re assigned an organisation. In a way, I didn’t expect to be here, but I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity – they must have thought we were a good match! The STEP internship is divided into two, six-month placements, which for me meant working in two different departments at Sadler’s Wells: Visitor Experience and Producing & Touring.

What has your internship involved day-to-day? How has the work differed between the two departments?

My first placement was in the Visitor Experience team, which was fascinating. I learnt so much. You’re basically dealing with the skeleton of the organisation, encompassing cleaning, security, safety – the foundations of any venue, things without which a theatre couldn’t function. It’s really important to have a solid core, and I felt like Visitor Experience was at the heart of Sadler’s Wells. Day-to-day, there could be a number of different things going on. I was a port of call for security issues, I coordinated training days, I made sure all the safety information was up-to-date. Quite a lot of responsibility, really.

In April I started in Producing & Touring, where I am now. You’re dealing with the artistic side of things, which involves a lot of behind-the-scenes details to make sure that what the audience see on stage is perfect. This could be dancers’ logistics – making sure that they’re happy, that the technical team are pleased, and everything runs smoothly.

Is there anything you have particularly enjoyed during your time at Sadler’s Wells?

I couldn’t narrow it down to a single project – it’s been the whole experience, really! When I was ill I felt pretty lonely and limited, and so being able to talk to people and learn about what they do was great. Hearing about other people’s journeys and how it’s led them here – it’s been fascinating. Although one day stands out, when I was shadowing the wardrobe team for a performance of Associate Artist Matthew Bourne’s company, New Adventures. I’m passionate about clothes and costumes, so it was beautiful to see their work.

Any challenges?

Adjusting to the pace can be difficult. When I first started, I only had a month’s prior office experience. Remembering names, protocols, keeping organised – that was a challenge. Once you’re into the swing of things, it’s fine. It was like a locomotive; it might take a short while to start, but once you’re rolling, you’re OK. I think it’s a feature of working as an intern at Sadler’s Wells – you have real responsibility from the outset. The work that I do as an intern demonstrably helps everyone else.

How do you feel the placement has benefited your professional development?

I think it’s greatly helped. My background is mostly creative, so I always wanted to work in a creative organisation. The organisational and administrative skills, everything I learned here is transferable. Going into another arts organisation or even another industry, what I’ve learned will set me up pretty well.

What advice would you give others thinking of pursuing a career in the arts or creative industries?

You have to be resilient. Some of the jobs that you do might not be what you imagined you would be doing, some tasks might seem mundane. But it all forms part of a creative endeavour. There’s beauty in doing things well.

SW Voices: Tiegan Hummerston

Tiegan Hummerston joined us in September 2016 on an apprenticeship placement, working at Sadler’s Wells for four days a week while she studied toward a formal qualification in Business Administration. Earlier this year, Tiegan was shortlisted for the National Apprenticeship Week’s Creative Apprentice of the Year award with Lewisham Southwark College. She was recently promoted to HR Assistant, taking up a full-time position. In this interview, Tiegan shares her experiences of working for Sadler’s Wells and in HR.

Hi Tiegan, can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I grew up in Essex, where I still live today. After finishing my GCSEs and A-Levels, I wasn’t quite sure about what I wanted to do next. Most people my age were going to university, but I didn’t feel ready to commit entirely to one subject – my A-Levels were fairly diverse; Psychology, History, Art and Law – so I decided to look into a range of apprenticeships and work opportunities. I was taken on for two weeks’ work experience in two separate companies, both of them in HR departments. I decided to try this experience, as it was suggested to me based on my current interests and skill set. After undertaking these two weeks’ worth, I felt very positive about the experience and decided to begin applying to full-time HR apprenticeship schemes.

How did you find out about the apprenticeship, and was there anything about Sadler’s Wells that particularly drew you in?

I actually found the posting through the gov.uk website. I hadn’t heard much about Sadler’s Wells, but I did some research and was intrigued – I liked the fact that they wanted to get young people involved in the arts, both in terms of engaging them in dance and in terms of helping them get experience in and be employed in the creative sector.

What did your apprenticeship involve, and how does it compare to your role now?

While doing the apprenticeship, it very much felt like I was a full-time employee – so there wasn’t actually a huge jump in terms of workload! The role came with a lot of responsibility quite early on. I’m still very happy I was formally taken on. Our HR Coordinator recently left, which provided me with an open opportunity to be kept on in the department. After discussing my interest in staying with my colleagues and line manager, they decided to reset the job level to an Assistant role, to which I was happy and comfortable with applying for. The only noted difference is that my workload has gone up – so the sort of experience I was gaining during the apprenticeship has been important for staying on top of things.

During my training period, I was at Sadler’s Wells for four days a week, and I was going to college on a day release on the other day. The course was in Business Administration, and we did coursework, had lectures and exams. So I was getting the roots of the theory for one day a week, then applying that on the other days – it was an interesting combination.

What have you particularly enjoyed during your time at Sadler’s Wells?

I’ve enjoyed a lot, but some of the aspects of recruitment in particular – I like meeting new people, and it’s been great to put into practice the policies about engaging young people I first read about on the website. An event that sticks in my mind is Skills London, an event where everyone in Sadler’s Wells HR and some of the interns go to the ExCeL Centre in East London to talk to young people about work opportunities and the creative sector. We had our own stall and spoke to loads of people; it was really interesting and great to engage with young people who are considering a career in the arts.

Staff induction days have been another highlight – it’s great to get experience in leadership, and curating a whole day of talks and activities makes for a really rewarding project.

What advice would you give others looking to make their way into the arts, HR, or the professional world more broadly?

If you don’t know what you want to do just yet, try getting experience in a field you think you might enjoy. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, I gave HR a go, and – perhaps luckily – it just really seemed to click with me. It’s not always a good idea to go to university just because people around you are going; it’s experience that gives you a real feel for what you might want to do in life. Do some research, dig around, and see what might appeal to you!

SW Voices: Comms Intern Belphoebe New

Sadler’s Wells is committed to building a culturally diverse workforce and offers a number of opportunities throughout the year to help young people take their first step in the creative sector. Bel joined Sadler’s Wells in June 2017 and worked for six months in the Corporate Communications team, where she helped to promote the theatre and its work. She told us more about her internship and what she learnt.

What is your background?

I’m from Oxford originally, and during school I occasionally volunteered at a theatre company based in the city. I studied English Literature at Queen Mary University of London, and during that time I spent two years working as the Arts Editor of our student union newspaper and magazine. Straight after graduating, I began working as a Copywriter and Digital Marketing Assistant at a creative agency, writing copy for our clients’ brochures and websites. After a couple of years, I decided that I wanted to focus my career within the arts, so I started an Editorial internship at an arts marketing agency, writing articles including exhibition reviews and interviews for their website.

How did you find out about the internship and why did you apply to work at Sadler’s Wells?

I came across the internship on Arts Jobs. I was looking for something that could help me take the first steps in becoming an arts professional and offer some training too. Admittedly I knew next to nothing about dance before starting here, apart from taking a few contemporary dance classes, but my sister was always fascinated by ballet growing up, so I had some exposure to it during childhood. I’d heard of Sadler’s Wells before and I knew it had an excellent reputation as an arts organisation and for presenting world-class dance, so it seemed like the ideal place to gain experience of the inner workings of an arts venue in London.

What does your internship involve?

I support the Senior Communications Manager in raising the profile, and promoting the vision, of the organisation. My projects have included assisting with the production of our annual review 2016-17, liaising with different departments to acquire information and images, as well as drafting sections. I also coordinated content and wrote sections of a brochure for guests of the Material Movement evening, a joint fundraising event held by Sadler’s Wells and London College of Fashion in November. Day-to-day, I help write content for the executive team, create posts for the Sadler’s Wells LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, and I also manage the Sadler’s Wells’ blog, coming up with content ideas and helping to publicise our programmes and initiatives, such as Learning & Engagement and sustainability projects.

What have you learned so far?

An enormous amount! I feel that I’ve had an unrivalled insight into how a large arts venue works. I’ve been fortunate enough to work across many different departments, learning about the work that they do to ensure that Sadler’s Wells is active in the local community and encouraging openness and diversity. I felt particularly that my line manager Giulia was an encyclopedia of knowledge about Sadler’s Wells and the creative industry as a whole!

I have also learnt how to take responsibility for my own workload and be proactive in ensuring I am up-to-date with activities across the organisation. I’ve gotten to grips with a whole new writing style and understood the importance of accuracy, consistent messaging and sensitivity. But I think one of the most important things I’ve learnt is that it’s good to be inquisitive and ask questions, even if it feels like they are too obvious!

What do you particularly enjoy as part of the internship?

I love the environment of working in a busy theatre. I have never worked anywhere this large before, and being able to go and see shows, to see great art and know that you’re part of it in some small way, there’s honestly nothing like it. I also never felt restricted as part of this internship and was treated just like any other employee. I was encouraged to work independently and seek out new opportunities to learn in the organisation, from independently sourcing content for the fundraising event brochure through to running a Twitter Q&A with one of our visiting companies!

What do you find is the most challenging aspect of it?

I think with the amount of trust bestowed in me there were many new challenges. Sometimes it was difficult to complete everything I wanted to do at particularly busy times, and taking part in large meetings was also something I’d never done before, so I struggled with my confidence a little. But I like to feel challenged and some of these moments I would honestly say were part of my highlights of working here.

How do you feel the internship will benefit your career?

Prior to this I knew I wanted to work in the arts sector, as theatres, museums and galleries are honestly the places in which I feel most comfortable, but I didn’t know quite where I could fit. My role as Communications Intern helped me to clarify and centre my focus on what I wanted to do in the arts, and gave me indispensable experience within a prestigious arts organisation. I am now going on to a full time, permanent role as Communications Assistant at Art Fund, so it has undoubtedly been the perfect first step into a role within the creative sector.

What advice would you give to other graduates doing a placement through the programme?

Be proactive, go after your own opportunities within the organisation and don’t be afraid to be challenged. The focus is very much on helping you to learn, grow, and gain as much experience as possible. Always be inquisitive, ask lots of questions and really make the most of your time here. Be active, enthusiastic and don’t be afraid to ask advice about your work or the next steps in your career, the people here come from such varied career backgrounds and are always happy to help!

SW Voices: Programming Coordinator Sarah Lacombe

Sadler’s Wells offers a number of internships in different departments within the organisation, giving young people the opportunity to take their first step into a career in the creative industries. Programming Coordinator Sarah Lacombe is responsible for organising the logistics of the productions which are presented at Sadler’s Wells. She first joined the programming team in March 2016 through the Creative Employment Islington Programme, and in July 2017 she became Programming Coordinator. We asked Sarah about how her internship helped her to access the creative industries and the advice she would give to other interns.

What is your background?

I studied in France and read English Speaking Countries Culture and Arts for both my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees. It would be the equivalent of English Literature in the UK, with a focus on performing arts (theatre, dance, circus), visual arts and cinema. I also did an Erasmus exchange here in London at King’s College London studying mainly French Literature.

You started out at Sadler’s Wells as part of the Creative Employment Islington Programme, can you tell us a bit more about that, such as how you found out about it and what made you want to work in programming?

I discovered the Creative Employment Islington Programme on the Arts Council England’s mailing list – Arts Jobs. I was living in Islington at the time and thought it would be a great opportunity. I was fascinated by the idea of curating a programme and working closely with companies. Through a variety of different internships, I gained experience in the creative industry. I learnt that I wanted a career that enabled me to be as close to the artists and their creative processes as possible. The Creative Employment Islington Programme provided this experience and served as a perfect stepping stone for me to proceed into artistic programming.

What was your experience interning at Sadler’s Wells, for instance the kind of day-to-day tasks and projects you worked on?

There is a very positive attitude shared amongst the staff at Sadler’s Wells. I felt welcomed and included from the beginning. As an intern, I worked on every production we presented at our three venues (Sadler’s Wells Theatre, Lilian Baylis Studio and Peacock Theatre) and off-site, as well as artists development projects such as our Summer University programme. I provided administrative support to other members of the team, from booking transfers and accommodation to planning receptions or greeting visiting companies during airport pick-ups. With two to three new productions opening each week, my role was very diverse and interesting.

How do you think that the Creative Employment Programme influenced and helped you pursue your career?

The Creative Employment Programme narrowed down the competition during the application process, which I think is even harder for young people with little work experience. It was a great opportunity to take a step further in my career, and I have been able to evolve quite quickly after it. It would also have been a great kick-starter to then continue a career in the arts.

What would you say you particularly enjoy about your job and working in programming specifically?

What I enjoy the most about my job is working with artists and being close to the creative process. The communication and social aspect of the role are also very interesting as I get to meet lots of new people from all around the world every week, all with different backgrounds and experiences – which is fascinating.

What have you learnt so far in your time here?

During my time at Sadler’s Wells, I have learnt many valuable things both on a professional and personal level. Working on so many shows at the same time has enabled me to improve my ability to manage competing workloads and prioritise tasks accordingly. I have also developed my communication skills, which is vital when serving as the main point of contact for visiting companies. As a result my self-confidence has improved greatly, and of course, my knowledge of contemporary dance!

What advice would you give to other young people doing an internship at Sadler’s Wells?

My advice to people doing an internship at Sadler’s Wells is to see as many productions as possible and research each department to get a clearer understanding of what each team’s role is within the creative process. I would highly recommend doing an internship here as it is a vibrant place with many fascinating projects to work on. It’s a great opportunity to meet many people in the industry, develop and refine artistic taste and start a career in the arts.

Figuring It Out: Michael Johnson on his Producing and Touring Internship

On the last day of his internship, Michael Johnson reflects on his six-month experience in the Producing & Touring team at Sadler’s Wells.

Getting out of the lift to the offices of Sadler’s Wells Theatre – just above and behind the historic main stage, there is an image by photographer, Mike Figgis of Ballet Frankfurt, taken in April 2004. Within the picture hides the uber-tall and magnificent dancer, Stephen Galloway waving his arm. Galloway is a giant creative force in both the dance and fashion industry, with a career I aspire to follow, so it felt inspiring to see this image every working day in my new role as the Producing and Touring intern.

Photograph by Mike Figgis that hangs in the Sadler’s Wells office buildings.

I came to Sadler’s following a few years of working as a professional dancer and came wanting to learn as much as I possibly could about the role of producing and ways to tour dance works internationally, as well as playing a small part in one of the strongest powerhouses of contemporary dance in the world, which I have admired for most of my life.

This was not your average or basic internship. There is of course the odd post office errand to run, expenses to file and internal mail to send to stage door, but you are never treated as the office aide.

Alongside continual development opportunities across the team, you are pulled in many directions, which reminds me of a dancer in the studio. I had the chance to work on a variety of tasks and projects in my six-month placement.  There is rarely a dull day in the Producing & Touring office. You are mentored with guidance and care, such as one-to-one meetings with senior producers who seek to fulfil your individual expectations.

Sweet treats from foreign trips are always in abundance, as producers are flying back from all corners of the world such as international festivals, opening nights or rehearsals, where a vast portfolio of Producing & Touring shows are created and presented.

Challenges morph, but rarely escalate in the Producing & Touring team. You’re constantly learning both hard and soft skills, from finding out the most efficient modes of travel for your productions on the road, to witnessing how to evacuate members of your team from a category 5 hurricane.

In my final week as an intern, I was offered the chance to oversee the London Fashion Week show of fashion designer and Sadler’s Wells ambassador Hussein Chalayan. Chalayan’s collaborations with Sadler’s Wells include Gravity Fatigue, the first dance production he ever directed, and the upcoming new show Dystopian Dream, of which he is designing the costumes. This opportunity was a perfect chance to gauge my skills in helping to produce a live fashion event within a traditional dance theatre context.

My biggest revelation was realising that the Producing & Touring team, from freelance technicians to wardrobe staff, producers and coordinators, all work tirelessly against constant pressures, both financial and artistic, to ensure that the best contemporary dance shows get out there and seen all over the world. Following this internship, I hope to continue my own projects as an independent dance producer, specialising in dance and fashion. In the not so distant future, I look forward to producing my own projects in dance and fashion through my company, Mode and Motion. Taking the breadth of experiences gained here at Sadler’s with me, I hope to continue chasing in Stephen Galloway’s footsteps.

Image of Michael by Nick Eagle


Sadler’s Wells’ Voices: HR Coordinator Braham Lyons

Sadler’s Wells offers a number of apprenticeships, giving young people the opportunity to access practical training and develop crucial knowledge and skills across different areas of the creative industries. Braham Lyons is a member of our Human Resources team, who joined Sadler’s Wells in October 2014 as an Administrative Apprentice, moving up the ranks to HR Assistant before becoming HR Coordinator in June 2016. We spoke to Braham about what he learned from his apprenticeship, further study and his advice for future Sadler’s Wells apprentices. What is your background? I left school and started an English Literature degree at university, but within the first year I knew it wasn’t right for me and I ended up withdrawing from the course entirely. Fjallraven Kanken Mini I’ve always loved theatre and the arts so knew I wanted to work in some way in the industry, but I had no idea what to do to get in! I spent a few years working as a freelance writer, where I undertook a theatre’s writers programme, staged my own play at a fringe theatre, and had a children’s play published but I was still struggling to find regular work and it was really stressful trying to live and work that way, I really needed to find an option for a career rather than odd jobs! You started out at Sadler’s Wells doing an apprenticeship in HR. How did you find out about this and why did you want to apply for it? I found the opportunity on Arts Jobs, at the time I was looking for a way to get in to an arts organisation and gain some solid experience to build on, but I had very little relevant experience, so the apprenticeship looked the perfect way to build my experience while learning about the industry. To be honest, I really didn’t know that arts administration or HR roles existed within the arts industry, so it was refreshing to find an entry level opportunity that was open to me and that I had a real chance of getting. What was your experience of the apprenticeship, for instance the kind of day-to-day tasks and projects you worked on? The great thing about being an apprentice here was that I was treated exactly as any other member of permanent staff, I was given responsibility and control over my own workload which is something I wasn’t expecting. My main focus was recruitment so assisting with everything from job creation through to coordinating interviews, and job offers which is great because you get to deliver good news, and so many people are genuinely excited to come and work at Sadler’s Wells. I also worked across the administrative functions, so helping staff with benefits, and keeping track of annual leave. blade and soul gold As our department is quite small, I got a lot of exposure to wider HR issues and projects as well, so I had a fantastic oversight of HR over the course of the year. ugg pour homme pas cher All of the academic work was linked into the day to day work I was doing as well, so it felt like I got to apply my learning on a continuous basis. How do you think that this apprenticeship was helpful in helping you pursue your career? I really wouldn’t have even known that this was a viable career for me without completing the apprenticeship. It gave me a year of solid work experience, and confidence with a qualification to back it up. I was lucky in that a role within the department became available for me to apply for, but if it hadn’t, I felt that I would have been in a strong position to apply for entry level HR roles in other organisations. With the range of experience I built up, it transformed my confidence and how I felt about my employability and career options. You went from being an Administrative Apprentice and you’re now the HR Coordinator. What would you say you particularly enjoy about your job and working in HR? In HR you’re always looking at how things can be improved, and I have a lot of freedom in pursuing projects and initiatives that will help Sadler’s Wells as a whole, it’s great to have that freedom and also the confidence from my Head of Department to work in that way. With recruitment, I also get to represent Sadler’s Wells which is something I’m really proud of, and the interactions I have with people are often their first impression of the organisation so it’s great when I can help them join in a really positive way. adidas zx pas cher What have you learnt so far in your time here? I gained a lot of confidence in myself and my ability, but I have also learned that you can’t do everything by yourself. You need to use other people’s expertise and skills, and really work together to perform at your best. Another key thing is to not assume and to go for opportunities that intrigue you. Before doing my apprenticeship I thought studying wasn’t for me, but now after completing my apprenticeship and working within HR, I’ve gone back to university as a part time student to obtain a CIPD qualification and I’ve absolutely loved it (couldn’t be more different to the abandoned English degree!), I can’t wait to be qualified, which is something I never thought would happen! What advice would you give to other young people doing an apprenticeship at Sadler’s Wells? You will get out whatever you put into your time here, so if you’re interested in something, speak up and get involved with as many different areas as you can.