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An Interns Point of View - Sophie London @ Aurelius Arts

We have invited some of our interns to be guest bloggers about their experiences as an intern

Here is Sophie London, who is the intern @ Aurelius Arts

I’m just beginning the second week of my Wired Sussex Internship as an Editorial Assistant for Aurelius Arts. I’m suddenly a little daunted.

Day One: A long lunch meeting to discuss what path my internship will take and what I can do for the company. Aurelius Arts director Dorothy Max Prior sets me a shedload of homework. The company’s main output is Total Theatre magazine and I was presented with a host of back issues to acquaint myself with, before being dispatched to immerse myself in contemporary theatre arts.

Over the next week I read and make notes and try to remember all the relevant companies and artists, what was lauded or important and what’s hotly anticipated and the depth and breadth of knowledge needed to be a contender in specialist journalism really hits home. More than that, just how much more than me all the others know about everything.

The next step is two days of training with Wired Sussex at The Lighthouse, which is incidentally right next door to my new home in The Basement. As well as some important tips on networking and making contacts (the only way one is likely to get freelance contracts, or indeed any other kind of contract, in the current climate), this is an opportunity to meet the other successful interns. They’re a lovely bunch of course and I met several people I really hope to stay in touch with, but it was also the first time many of us got to meet other Wired Sussex candidates and gauge the level of competition. The value of the internship as a CV selling point is based nearly as much on the exclusivity of the scheme as on the experience gained, so the high calibre of graduates I met at the event was certainly reassuring. There was also a surprisingly quality spread of sandwiches and patisserie goods in the breaks as well as a very respectable selection of fruit teas. Good to know where those top up fees are being invested. I’ve always said the biscuits you get at meetings are a measure of your place in the world, so judging by the millionaire’s shortbread, we’re all doing rather well.

The internship proper begins with an editorial meeting. Unfortunately we’re driven out of the office by a fire in a neighbouring building and have to fend for ourselves in the North Laine, crowding round a small café table before decamping to a quieter pub at the peak of the lunchtime rush. In amongst the disorder however, I am finally assigned some duties and tasks are delegated.

It’s very easy not to think of an internship as a job; it won’t pay the bills and it’ll be over before Whitsun. Now I’ve actually started at Aurelius Arts however, it has rapidly dawned on me that this is indeed a job that requires serious commitment on my part. The company are great, there is the obligatory administrative element of the role, but they are going out of their way to make sure all my areas of interest are covered and company director Dorothy Max Prior is taking a day a week to mentor me personally. Listings Editor John Ellingsworth is also giving up time to work with me on a pet project.

The tricky bit now is keeping abreast of the wide-ranging world of contemporary theatre and, more pressing, time management. The placement is very flexible, but with a very busy team all managing other commitments, I need to make myself available when they are in the office and I need to start giving over evenings to attend events, with time set aside the next day to write them up. This means very careful manipulation of rota requests at work, probably cutting down on hours and finding other, more creative ways to make ends meet.

I’ve already been assigned sub-editing duties for the new online Reviews section and over the next few weeks, I expect I will settle into some kind of routine with Aurelius, although the work is so varied that I doubt there will be the typical office monotony. Tomorrow I will be integrated into the spreadsheet of tasks and duties so I will have to learn fast as the copy deadline approaches and tread water like mad till it’s over.

Next week includes the launch of the Brighton Fringe festival and my first theatre visit as a member of the press, Max will take me through style guides and John is going to teach me how to make my blog do the technical things I haven’t managed to fathom. Oh and there’s a small matter of creating an accurate and up-to-date contact database of artists and companies by trawling through our inbox, reading responses and noting bounces from a mass mailout some weeks hence.

A lot of the other interns had already completed a full nine-to-five week by the time we met at the Lighthouse and most of them had been thrown right in at the deep end, so I’m grateful for the gentle start. There’s a reason the Wired Sussex scheme is so competitive and that’s because all the successful applicants need to be on top of their game, to use a tired cliché (something we were expressly forbidden to do in the ‘Professional Writing’ leg of training.)

Now it’s time for me to prove to Aurelius that they made a sound choice in picking me to be the latest edition to the team, which means that from here, this is the day job. I’ll eat, sleep and breathe Total Theatre till May, which incidentally happens to be by far the busiest month of the theatrical year. Next step: editorial responsibilities.

Sophie A.R.London

About the author

Phil Jones

Hi, I'm the Managing Director of Wired Sussex, overseeing our strategy as an organisation and work to promote our membership and its needs to local, national and international stakeholders, including government.

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