When Kitty Jones ended her summer job last year she had no idea what would happen next, then she applied for a Marketing internship at Lighthouse...
Last September, after my summer job had finished for the season, I was scrolling through Indeed looking for similar roles when I noticed that Lighthouse had an opening for a Marketing Intern, a six-month placement with the opportunity to gain hands-on paid experience. As both a recent drama graduate and a lifelong Lighthouse patron looking for an arts marketing position, I knew I had to apply. To my surprise, I received a call that afternoon inviting me to interview and to my greater surprise, I was offered the position the next week.
My first hurdle to overcome was that of working in an office. Mastering the office vibe, felt to me as much of a minefield as understanding the work itself; from what you wore each day to what you had for lunch. The building itself also felt a complete maze, in my first few weeks I’d regularly find myself in a corridor or down a flight of stairs with no idea how I got there or how to get out! I was repeatedly helped out by other staff members; it was a relief that everyone was so friendly and welcoming.
As the weeks went on, I learnt more about my responsibilities as intern and started building relationships with the many visiting companies that bring their shows to Lighthouse. From my first week, I felt like a valued member of the team. I put together the weekly e-flyer every fifth week, in rotation with the rest of the department and quickly learnt the do’s and don’ts of social media marketing. My first post (advertising spare chairs Lighthouse had to give away to the local community) generated a fair bit of buzz in the comments section leading the team to assume me a social media wizard! Sadly, the mysteries of the algorithm reveal themselves to no-one.
One of the best things about the marketing internship at Lighthouse is the variety of tasks and duties that make up the position, encouraging learning across a broad range of topics. A great example of this was my weekly sales advisor shifts, in which I swapped the admin office for the ticket office, taking bookings for shows over the counter and over the phone. Here, I familiarised myself with the online ticketing systems which afforded me great transferable skills, but an additional value in this assignment was speaking directly to customers; to see what they were booking for, what they were enjoying – and occasionally what they weren’t.
At the end of my first three months, I was tasked with a solo project and put together last year’s 12 Days of Christmas campaign – sign up to the e-list for the chance to win free tickets at the most wonderful time of the year! The campaign involved twelve separate e-newsletters and required lots of behind the scenes set up and scheduling. Where I’d initially felt daunted taking on the campaign, upon its successful completion, my confidence soared and I felt proud of myself, especially when I saw how much audiences had enjoyed taking part.
This self-belief led me to feel capable to take on perhaps my most significant contribution within the team, leading on the creation of two season brochures – quite the job to put together. The pride (and relief!) at seeing the finished brochure comes back all shiny and bound together reminded me of everything I’d learnt at each stage of the project to get to this finished result.
It’s felt particularly special to be taking the first steps of my career here, as Lighthouse has been a constant throughout my life as both an audience member and performer. I can still recall early pantomime experiences and was a big fan of the affordable youth tickets for the BSO’s weekly concerts. I performed as part of dance ensembles onstage on many occasions and sang with the BSYC, rehearsing each week in the Sherling Studio, so to have now been a part of an organisation that’s given me such formative memories has been a bit of a dream… it is just a lovely place to be.
Especially with so many barriers to entry in arts jobs, paid internships like this are more important than ever. They offer a safe environment to grow, and perhaps even more valuably, a space to get things wrong, in a professional setting. From figuring out the staples of the office wardrobe (a particularly crucial learning!) to putting together multiple season brochures, the confidence I’ve built and skills I’ve learnt during my time here as marketing intern are immeasurable.