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Festival madness, peer support and Sadiq Kahn – An intern’s story

Scottish-born Rachel D’Arcy moved down to London for a year to be a Creative Access intern. She’s since moved back up to Glasgow to work for the National Theatre of Scotland. Here she reflects on her career to date and gives some sound advice to those who want to pursue a career in theatre or PR…

I was a Creative Access intern in 2015/16, working as Trainee Producer with Paines Plough. The security of a paid internship made such a huge difference, especially supporting my move to London for a year, after which I made the decision to return to Scotland. Since 2016 I’ve worked in arts PR with The Corner Shop PR in Edinburgh, theatre press and marketing at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow, as well as independently producing a show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

For anyone interested in a career in theatre, especially when you’re just starting out, I would recommend trying your hand at everything and seeing where your skills fit best.

Don’t be afraid to take opportunities when they come to you. Initially I didn’t think that I had the experience for my role at Paines Plough but having met with the team and spoken with Creative Access I decided to put my doubts to one side and make the most of the opportunity I had been offered.

Being part of the Creative Access scheme opened doors that I could never have imagined. Whether it was having the opportunity to sit in the House of Commons and listen to Sadiq Khan talk about the importance of having diverse voices represented and valued in the creative industries and in parliament, or a member of staff during a panel at Twitter HQ reminding us all about the importance of taking social media breaks for our mental health and wellbeing, the advice and support was so valuable. Having a network of people working across all different types of creative organisations to talk with about our different routes into our roles was a great way to connect and think about what we could learn from each other too.

One of the greatest resources in my career has been my peers. A lot of my early experience working on press, marketing and digital campaigns came about by working with friends who were directors or playwrights because I spotted that there was a gap and they needed someone to look after the publicising of their work to a wider audience. Since moving back to Scotland I’ve been able collaborate and share what I’ve learnt from my experience in theatre producing, PR and marketing with emerging theatre makers to support their work.

Some of the best advice I got from a mentor was to always look at the person specification for jobs in areas that I’d like to work in and think about how I fit.

This helped to identify gaps in my experience and address them. I’ve also found that asking for feedback after interviews where I’ve been unsuccessful has also helped me to clarify aspects of my experience during my next interview. Doing this helped me realised that not every ‘no’ is a rejection, sometimes it can just be a ‘not right now’, and ultimately conversations I had with people about unsuccessful applications gave me the ability to talk about experience in the way I needed to to take on my current role as Digital and Communications Officer at the National Theatre of Scotland.

You can follow Rachel on Twitter and Instagram at @racheldarcy_