Working Behind The Scenes in Performing Arts: Administrator and Volunteer Coordinator
My name is Eva, and I started working at Anna Fiorentini’s almost a year ago. My official title is Administrator and Volunteer Coordinator, and my work includes doing lots of different administrative bits and pieces that go into the running of the school. My background is in theatre producing, and I’ve worked with a number of theatre companies for young people in the past, so working at the school involves a lot of things that I love to do!
One of my responsibilities, as my job title suggest, is managing our volunteer programme. We have a number of people who volunteer with us at the schools on a regular basis, so part of my job is to recruit these volunteers and to make sure they enjoy their work with us. We also use volunteers for our one-off events such as holiday schools and shows. Our volunteers are a very important part of the organisation, as there are many things we do that wouldn’t happen without them. They are also a lovely bunch of people, so working with them is one of the best parts of my job. Their enthusiasm for the school and the students is very inspiring, and it’s amazing to see how committed they are to making a difference in their community.
I also manage the LAMDA programme, which enables our students to work towards an Acting exam from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. This part of my job involves recruiting teachers, scheduling tutorials for the students and making sure all participants are signed up for the actual exam. Especially creating the tutorial timetables can be quite a puzzle, because I have to make sure every student gets the right amount of time with the teacher while also checking they don’t miss too much of their regular lessons.
One of the most exciting parts of my job is working on the events that we organise, such as our big variety shows and Fiorentini’s Got Talent. This is where I get to use my producing skills, which is always a lot of fun. Being involved with big productions can be a bit stressful as well though, especially when you have to deal with last minute emergencies on show day! But in the end, it always comes together, and it’s very rewarding to see the students enjoy their moment in the spotlight.
I also get to work directly with the students at our Docklands branch, where I cover reception every other week, and at our holiday schools. Because a lot of my work is based in the office, it’s a bit of a treat when I get to go out to the schools and see the students in their lessons.
One of the fun things about working in a small company like this is that everyone does a little bit of everything, so no two days are ever the same in our office. It also means that I learn a lot about things like marketing, curriculum development and fundraising, which are not disciplines I specialised in. For anyone considering a career in the organisation side of the performing arts, I would recommend doing an internship or work experience with a small organisation like Anna Fiorentini, so you can find out what you like (and what you don’t like) on the job.