Gabby Harrison in A Little Princess as Perkins
Gabby Harrison in A Little Princess as Perkins

Blog: Why We Do It: A Day in the Life of a Hedgerow Theatre Work Study Student

Blog by Gabby Harrison

 

Gabby Harrison in A Little Princess as Perkins
Gabby Harrison in A Little Princess as Perkins

“So…What exactly does a work study student do?” Behold, one of the most frequent questions we as work study kids at Hedgerow Theatre get asked. We hear this on what can be as often as a daily basis. Most visitors to the theatre will catch a glimpse of one of us answering the phone, or assisting a kid in their line memorization for a class, or scurrying through the atrium with bottles full of liquid that look far too mature for us to be carrying (don’t worry, it’s often just diluted juice). We’re the smaller members of the backstage crew, or the laughing bunch of teenagers hanging around the theatre as we wait for our rehearsal to begin. Yet, understandably so, it can be hard to tell what exactly we do around the company. It can even be confusing to us, too, at times – our response to this question will consist of a hesitant “Uh..” and then, with a nervous laugh, “Well, everything.” This answer doesn’t really do much to explain anything, and can leave questioners (as well as us) even more confused than they were in the first place.

So, I’m making this post today to clarify exactly what it is that we as Hedgerow Theatre work study students do, and why we’re important to the theatre. We don’t exactly do everything, although it often feels that way, but we are pretty vital to the company. Work studies are just another part of the big, wonderful family at Hedgerow, and we’d like to show how.

Saturdays are our busiest day at Hedgerow Theatre, with an onslaught of meetings, classes, and performances all crammed into about a 12-hour day. That being said, while quite often a little chaotic, they’re certainly the most fun. I’m going to run through the typical Saturday of a Hedgerow Theatre work study student for you all.

A Saturday in the life of a Hedgerow work study begins with a morning ‘Futures’ meeting. Nine o’clock on a Saturday morning – not the most preferred time for a group of teenagers to meet, but we make it work. Armed with coffee, our binders, and various writing utensils, we meet in the big room at the Hedgerow House, the main rehearsal room beside the kitchen, to discuss current and upcoming events within the Theatre School. Executive Director Penelope Reed leads us, as well as various assistants and other educators, in a discussion about the projects we’re all involved in around the theatre.

After the meeting, we disperse and each one of us goes off to start our first activity for the day. For some of us, this means assisting in teaching the 10-12 little kid’s class. For others, it’s going to the education office to do some office work. We meet up a few hours later around noon for lunch, and then the real work begins.

Hedgerow Theatre School classes are almost always held in the afternoon, unless they’re a one-two hour long morning or evening class. The performance classes are held on Saturday afternoons, and these are the classes we work studies are mostly involved in. For the Winter 2016 semester, the performance classes are Godspell and Space Wars. Performance classes are each three hours long, from 12-3 and then 3-6 on Saturdays. If we’re acting or assisting in these, that’s what we’ll spend the afternoon doing – unless we’re involved in a mainstage show, a situation in which we have an entirely different schedule. Mainstage productions have two performances on Saturdays, one at 4 and one at 8. If a work study student works on a mainstage show, they’ll go straight to prepare for the 4pm show. In some cases, however, work studies are involved in both the Theatre School performance classes and the mainstage. In that case, it’s a crazy shuffle of trying to get to your mainstage call on time while still being able to make it to enough rehearsals to do the performance class show.

This can often be chaotic and stressful, but we’re dedicated, hardworking students who are looking to be involved in professional theatre someday. It’s what we’re passionate about, what we love, and though crazy at times, we wouldn’t change it for the world.

And that, my friends, is a day in the life of a work study student at Hedgerow Theatre. Chaotic, crazy, and so much fun. So if you’re ever wondering what exactly it is that a work study does, now you know.

If this sounds interesting to you, we are looking for some new work study studies, as many of ours are leaving for college this fall. If you’re interested, and would like to know more, feel free to contact us via our Contact Us! page, or send us an email at company@hedgerowtheatre.org.