Last week Chantelle Woodley, a student at Darlington College, carried out a work experience placement at Hippodrome HQ. She tells all us about her experience. 

Due to already having an interest in marketing, and knowing that it is what I wish to study at university I was delighted when receiving the news I had been given the opportunity to gain work experience with the marketing team at Darlington Civic Theatre. Fortunately I was given all required information before-hand so I knew exactly where I was going, when and what I would be doing during my time with them.

On the first day I was excited, however it’s always a bit nerve-wracking meeting new people, thankfully I was greeted by a warm, welcoming team who made me feel extremely comfortable. After being introduced to each member of staff I was given the task of reading through and signing agreements to the employee health and safety regulations. After that I was given a pack of press releases for A Tale of Two Cities to read through to help me gain an understanding of the play and how it has already been promoted. I was then asked to consider the potential audience for the show and what would be the best way to engage with different types of potential audience groups, I then discussed with Julian, one of the marketing officers, what I think. Lastly, I was shown the venue where the production will be held and the current Dickens exhibition in the library.

On the second day I was given the task of manning an information table in the Dolphin Centre from 10am to 1pm, giving out information about A Tale of Two Cities and encouraging people to enter a free prize draw for tickets. Although not too many people came to the desk, it is a task I rather enjoyed as it was practical and allowed me to engage with people. After lunch, Julian and I went to local venues, such as the Premier Inn Hotel, another two local hotels, bars, restaurants, shops and bakeries, to ask them if they could up posters and/or display leaflets for their customers to see or take away. We also asked the three hotels if they would consider placing a special two-for-one ticket voucher in each of their rooms. Overall it was a mainly positive response, most venues accepted our requests. Then, while at home, I designed the hotel two-for-one vouchers, to print off the following day.

On my final day I came in and showed Julian the voucher I designed for him to print off. Then I was asked if I could consider what would be the best ways to promote A Tale of Two Cities to Darlington College students, as I am currently a student there. I came up with as many appropriate ways of promoting in the college and discussed them with Julian before requesting to the college if the promotion ideas would be possible – such as sharing on their social media platforms, on the plasma screens in the College foyer and utilising the College radio station.

While waiting for a response from the College I was given the task of writing a press release, similar to the ones I looked at on the first day, but writing it in a way that would appeal to college students. I enjoyed this task as along with marketing, I have long been keen on journalism and generally just writing too. My last task was to design a poster for the writing competition ‘A Tale in 500 Words’, for Theatre Cloud, I again enjoyed this task as it gave me the chance to be creative and explore my ICT skills.

Overall I am very grateful for the enjoyable and educational opportunity of working with Darlington Civic Theatre, it gave me a good insight into the day to day tasks and jobs of a real marketing team. I would advise other students to definitely take the chance, if offered, to work with Darlington Civic Theatre, as it really helped me decide that marketing is what I want to pursue as a future career and study at university next year.