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Volunteering at The Gallery Studio Theatre – Open Evening!

Volunteering at The Gallery
Studio Theatre:- Open Evening June 21st 7pm-9pm

Introduction
It is probably every Theatre Company’s dream to have their own performance, rehearsal, storage and meeting space and that dream has now finally come true. We took over what is now known as The Gallery Studio Theatre last Spring and it has been a very busy year organising and updating the space.
Running a theatre has been a steep learning curve and we have had a lot of support and help from a lot of people.
But there is still much to do and it is for that reason that we are appealing for help from anyone who shares our passion for developing exciting theatre and is interested in joining the Gallery ‘community’ and getting a taste of what we are all about.
We have a range of areas where we need help, whether it be engaging with our audiences in a Front of House capacity or gaining worthwhile experience working backstage or on the technical side.
We would also love to hear from anybody who might want to get involved with marketing, which is such an important aspect of keeping our theatre going.
We aim to run training sessions for anyone who steps forward to help us in this exciting venture or conversely it may well be that it is you from whom we are learning!
If you interested in keeping theatre live and or giving back to your local community or you simply want to try something new then please have a look through the roles we have detailed below and come along to our Open Evening for prospective Volunteers on Tuesday 21st June from 7-9pm, at the Studio, when there will an opportunity to have a look around the Studio and members of the Steering Group on hand to chat to you about any area you might like to know more about. (The Gallery Studio Theatre, St Georges Street, Ipswich, IP1 3NF. Drop in anytime between 7pm-9pm).


Some of the ‘departments’ needed to run a The Gallery Studio Theatre, in no particular order!:-

Props
We always need help with props. Any production may require large stage props such as a particular kind of chair or desk or small props such as a telephone or set of glasses etc.
We have a props store with a fairly large collection but we are continually adding to it. Some items have to be of a particular period and it be great fun tracking them down.
Helping with props could include helping to source items listed by the Director and/or taking responsibility during a production for the props table.
For the cast it really be helpful if they can work with the props during the rehearsal period.
Helping with props can be really rewarding particularly when you see them being used on the set during a performance.

Technical
Sound and lighting can have a huge impact on a production. Even a subtle change in lighting state can trigger an emotive response in an audience, and good sound design helps the audience forget the world they occupy and become fully immersed in the story unfolding in front of them. We have a small technical team which looks after the lighting, sound, video, IT, and stage equipment at the studio. Productions can be simple, and sometimes they can be very technically complex. If you are technically inclined (whether you have experience in theatre or not) and you would like to volunteer with the technical team, we would love to hear from you.

Scenery
We generally design, make and paint our own scenery for our productions. If you are artistic and fancy doing some large scale painting, handy with a screwdriver and hammer or just want to give it a go we are always looking for help.

Studio Building
It takes a lot to keep the Studio Building in order and we try and do as much of that as we can for ourselves. We are also looking to make improvements when we can. If you are willing to help with decorating, cleaning and maintenance we would love to hear from you.

Costumes
An enormous part of any show is making the characters within it look ‘right’. The show may be contemporary, period or complete fantasy, but each will have to be ‘dressed’ accordingly. Along with the Director we would normally have someone who would help create a ‘vision’ for the show and help gather a wardrobe together. Gallery have a very full Costume store at the Studio with some hidden gems but we often need to scour Charity shops and for very specific periods may need to hire in or adapt/create one offs. Help is often needed in all aspects of these wardrobe needs and the Costume Store is in dire need of some organisation! Our plan is to have a small area within the Store for the sewing machines we already have to be used for alterations etc.

Front of House and Bar
When the public are in the Studio we have the task of making their visit enjoyable and safe. Front of House (FOH) volunteers are in place on performance nights to:- welcome the audience, make sure the building is clean and tidy, sell programmes, check tickets, sell Ice Creams during the interval, assist people to their seats, as well as help with any mobility issues any of the audience may have. In the event of any requirement to stop a show and possibly evacuate the building it is the FOH team, under the instructions of the Duty Manager, who ensure this is done quickly, calmly and safely.
The Foyer at the Studio is the first area our audience see and where our licensed Bar is located. This is open before and after our shows and during any interval. We endeavour to make it a welcoming and exciting space. We have a small team that can operate the Bar but can always do with more. It would definitely help if you have Bar/Retail experience and can operate a Till but we also need help keeping it tidy, washing glasses and stocked up etc.

Stage Manager
The Stage Manager is responsible for ensuring that theatrical performances run smoothly and to schedule. He or she liaises with the duty manager and technical crew, communicating any cues needed via headsets. He or she also coordinates props, scene changes and any other backstage activity, and ensures that performers and any other crew are in the right place at the right time.
Ahead of production week, the Stage Manager will familiarise him or herself with the script and all technical aspects of the show. He or she will come to rehearsals, especially towards the end of the rehearsal period, noting moves and technical cues in a copy of the script, called ‘the book’. From the technical and dress rehearsals, the Stage Manager will take over the responsibility of running the show from the Director.
A successful Stage Manager needs to be prepared to assume responsibility, think ahead, be organised, communicate effectively, work effectively as part of a team – and keep calm and react quickly and flexibly in the event of setbacks and emergencies!

Publicity
As an up-and-coming theatre space, marketing is an ESSENTIAL part of operation… if no-one hears about the shows, then no-one is going to watch the shows! Our marketing team are incredibly busy organising and creating content for our very active social media pages, as well as keeping on top of our MailChimp mail drops and always exploring for different avenues to find new audiences. Whilst experience in these fields would be incredibly helpful, we are always grateful for any help in the day-to-day admin of publicity, graphic design, copy writing, or even just some help in going around popping up posters and leaflets!

Hopefully this has given you a ‘flavour’ of what makes the Studio ‘tick’, and if you’d like to learn more and perhaps see if you can help us run the Theatre by volunteering then please drop by anytime between 7pm – 9pm next Tuesday, the 21st of June.

The Gallery Studio Theatre

St Georges Street

Ipswich

IP1 3NF