My week with Culturapedia

Coming into this week, I wasn’t 100% sure exactly what to expect, but was looking forward to chatting with the always smiling, excited and bubbly Lyndsey again. Once I had endured the bus ride and finally found the office (not as hard as I’m making it sound, I’m just ditzy), I entered the office and was instantly greeted by three very chirpy voices; “Good Morning Kyle!”  Making you feel welcome and part of the team very quickly, seems to be one of the many strong points of Lyndsey, Stephie, Sue and Rob.

The first thing I noticed was the very relaxed feel of this company, while still keeping everything efficient and professional. The way the team are able to simultaneously drink their morning brew’s, chat about their evening, answer their plethora of emails and keep a dialogue with me was seamless and instantly had me at ease. It was like
seeing the fine workings of a machine, perfectly oiled but always ready for a laugh. Being a relaxed, chatty person myself, my first thoughts were; “This is where I’m meant to be”.

My first task for the Monday was to peel off stickers and stick them onto posters, as part of the publicity for Stripey Honey… is very yummy!, which Lyndsey found impossible to not apologise for every few minutes. A menial task such as this, would not deter me, as it’s something that needs doing. Not everything is immediately exciting, the ‘boring’ jobs need doing to make the ‘exciting’ jobs possible. During this, I was also set with the task of having a 1 to 1 conversation with each of the staff, with Sue being first.

Sue explained what she does for Culturapedia and how she ended up here. It was a nice and informative discussion, where I was asked about my views and plans for the future. Ending with some advice and tips for me, it was time for
Rob and I to go to Accrington, to watch the first Spot On show of the season – Stripey Honey… is very yummy!
In the car, Rob explained his part of the company and his background, but kept it quite short. He was more interested in my view of myself as an artist, what my plans are and my upcoming projects. After explaining the project I am most excited for, we started bouncing ideas off of each other, giving me a very clear idea on where I
could possibly go with this performance. A short drive and an interesting conversation later, we were at one of the largest libraries I have ever stepped in. Watching Rob interact with the staff and public, made it very obvious where his passions lie. Similar to me, community engagement was his strong point, not surprising for someone who is always polite and easy to approach.

Once the show was finished, Rob wasted no time talking to the audience, getting feedback and even recording a few of the audience members talking about the show. This whole side of theatre, something that I haven’t experienced much, was really enjoyable, which gives me a wider variety of possible options for when I finish Uni.

The show was very enjoyable and being able to talk about my opinions of the show with Rob, who I knew was taking everything I said on board, was really nice. It’s just good to feel like your opinion is wanted and that is definitely the feeling I get from the whole team.

The next day was time for me to shadow Stephie, the picky coffee drinker, writer and resident joker (although Lyndsey may take top spot for that). After a team meeting, which I was included in, the day was set out clearly with meetings galore, over at The Mechanics in Burnley. I was really excited to spend the day with Stephie, because of what Rob had told me about her theatre-based background. On our way to Burnley, she spoke about her plethora of jobs or “the many hats I wear” and how she ended up here. Having done a degree in theatre, like myself, I found her
opinions on my project very useful. She even gave me some handy tips to keep in mind on how to work in this incredibly competitive industry.

Just being able to sit in on meetings of this nature, was useful for me to experience. It was very clear to me that ‘professionalism’ has nothing to do with muting your personality, something I was hoping would be the case. With flyering completed and some tips on the best places to go to give flyers, my day with Stephie was done. Similar to Lyndsey, Stephie found it impossible to not apologise for the ‘boring day’, but that is not how I would’ve described it. Yes, the tasks for the day were monotonous, but seeing these inner workings is the reason I wanted this placement in the first place! Obtaining all this knowledge on the best ways to plan, run and market these projects was definitely useful.

Wednesday. A slightly poorly Lyndsey and I were on our way to Halton Mill to watch The Tin Soldier, which wasn’t a part of Spot On, but is a venue which they work with. Lyndsey is a very easy and interesting person to converse with. She was precise and to the point, throwing metaphorical knowledge word balls at me, which I stuffed into my pockets like a ball boy, trying to keep up with lightning fast Federer. Being the woman who is in charge of finding and booking artists, I knew this was important information to keep in mind, especially if I wanted to go freelance.
The show was interesting and charming, fuelling a nice discussion between Lyndsey and I as we picked it apart and spoke about everything which we had noticed. It was nice to hear what someone like Lyndsey is looking for in a show and incredibly useful for me to keep in mind when creating my own work.

Thursday. A much needed, and I’d say well deserved, lie in before my morning of handing out flyers, around Preston City Centre. I was excited for this from the start of the week, as the show Blindside was something which I will definitely be going to watch. Having the chance to talk to the public about this and share my excitement is something I knew I would love and, quite frankly, be good at!
With a poorly Lyndsey getting worse, it was down to Rob to come an collect me from Preston to get us to Ormskirk for the Spot On show Rabbit Girl & The Search for Wonder. Upon arriving, the car threw a paddy and decided to break down, luckily this was right outside the library. A short call to sort out getting Rob and the car back to Blackburn later, we went into the Library. Upon entering, it was hard to miss the set for the show as it completely transformed the space, a truly beautiful design. The Library staff were equally as excited and impressed. I even had a bit of a ‘nerd’ moment when I saw the exquisitely simple but high-tech lighting and sound station.

Unfortunately, Rob had to leave half-way through the show, leaving me to ‘hold the fort’. I thought that this would make me nervous, but I leapt at the chance and spoke to as many audience members as possible. As with everything this week, I really enjoyed this and was definitely my favourite part of the placement. The show was superb, with some of the best puppeteering I have ever seen. With everyone elated from the show and the artists from the feedback, I headed off home.

Friday. The day I am writing this. Reading through what I have written, giggling at my eccentric and playful way of explaining the week, I am excited to get started on creating a performative response to this week.
Until then, I have been Kyle Hyde, thanks for having me and reading.
Over and out.