Student Case Study: Quirk Theatre Company

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Name of Student: Katie Foster 

Degree Subject: Liberal Arts  

Job Title: Assistant Producer for Quirk Theatre Company 

Company Name: Quirk Theatre Company 

Description of Organisation:

Witty, playful, and often anarchic, Quirk pride themselves on devising original work with a social conscience, offering a meaningful alternative to pantomime. They have built up a loyal following of family audiences and school groups and are proud that close to four thousand people come to see our Christmas show every year.  

Type of Internship:   

 Student Business Partnerships (SBPs)   

What were your key duties and responsibilities during your internship? 

I created and maintained the first mailing list for the company with over 40 recipients. I also assisted in evaluation, feedback, and production meetings throughout the lifetime of the show. I constructed two phases of press releases for over 65 different organisations. As well as this I designed and published actor callouts, tailoring them for our Global Majority and Graduate Actor pathways. I crafted the initial design of the show’s programme, which contained over 40 individuals and undertook an accessibility and inclusion audit of the company and located DEI training for all its members. 

What was your biggest achievement on your internship? 

My biggest achievement was gaining a lot of confidence. One of my first tasks was to send out a press release, something I had never done before, and I was initially terrified. However, by doing things like that, I now have the confidence to talk to many more companies and individuals than I did before; what’s the worst that can happen?

Also, creating a mailing list with over 40 recipients has been amazing. Being able to craft and maintain it by myself has meant that I have a real sense of ownership in the company and enjoy the whole process. 

Were there any challenges and how did you overcome these?  

My main challenge has been learning the rules of the professional workplace. I’m autistic, and this industry is very much based on personal interaction, something I struggle with, so learning what I can do and when has been difficult – though not impossible. A main example of this is when I was at networking events with the company, and I initially found it incredibly hard. However, the company has been extremely welcoming and kind and has really helped me in those situations – for example, during two of the networking events, I had a job that I could focus on doing. I’ll never be amazing at social interaction but having to do it as part of the job really has helped me learn strategies of dealing with it. 

Skills Learnt:  

  • Communication 
  • Problem solving  
  • Negotiation 
  • Organisation 
  • Time and workload management 
  • Researching 
  • Networking  

Attributes Developed: 

  • Commercial Awareness  
  • Confidence 
  • Initiative 
  • Personal awareness 
  • Cultural awareness 
  • Creative thinking 
  • Independence 
  • Work Ethic 
  • Professionalism 

Your message to other students considering a similar job role, organisation or sector? 

My experience with Quirk Theatre has been incredible. I never thought that I’d be able to do half the things I’ve done so far. It’s opened my eyes to the possibility of working in the theatre industry after University, something I had previously thought impossible. Being able to work remotely, and in a freelance style, has helped me develop the skills necessary to maintain work/life balance and given me an outlet that isn’t University work. It has been difficult at times, but the support of the company has been the main reason I’ve been able to do as much as I have done.