The week in the office began on Tuesday, Sunday and Monday was spent at home after a busy week in London. Emails were still attended to on Monday in order to keep the ball rolling for certain ongoing tasks, including a lovely thank you email to Paul and I from Luke Foster, one of the London Actors in Sleeping Beauty. More documents supporting the Nutcracker license applications arrived making up a full house – the remaining could now be sent to their relevant authorities, two more authorised licenses were received.

Arriving in the office for 10am, I set up shop – turned my computer on, unpacked my bag and began to read my emails and check my ‘to do’ list. Today already felt like a busy day as I began checking Crew Calls for The Nutcracker before sending them to the relevant people and adding them to the necessary shared folders. I achieved high levels of satisfaction as I crossed things of my ‘to do’ list but I also added more for later in the week. Exciting new future projects were beginning to be discussed. The preparation of a Coach list for the outbound journey to Sunderland concluded the day. My reading for the night was the Technical Administrator’s folder created by Amy Dolan two years before.

Wednesday, I was up and packed and in the office by 10.30am. I was sure to bring the Technical Administrator’s (TA) folder as well as pack my Organisational Analysis notes for the week ahead before completing the norm, checking emails, checking my diary and looking at my ‘to do’ list. More Nutcracker licenses arrived, alterations to the coach list were made and awaited hippodrome passes handed in. As I wouldn’t be returning to my office till after Plymouth I made sure it was all set up for my return, including many reminder sticky notes.

The coach departed and four hours later we were greeted by a blustery Sunderland. Camp was set up in the company office and it was a free night to discover the High Street, especially Frankie & Benny’s menu. Paul and myself spent the evening gossiping about the dance world, our past experiences, plans for the future and filling ourselves up on carbs! Developments for my Organisational Analysis were discussed; I was to make a list of all the staff I would like to speak to by the end of the week so Paul could help arrange interviews.

Thursday arrived seemingly like what had become a standard day for opening night on tour. I walked down the freezing but sunny Sunderland high street and felt much better being up North than the week before in the busy streets and stations of London. As I arrived at Stage Door I asked for the key to ‘The Beatles room’ i.e. The Company Office and settled in. After preparing for the Actor’s arrival at 11am Paul and myself completed a quick tour of the building, covering the essentials – actor’s dressing rooms, stage management office and how to get to the stage. I also filled my desk with sticky note reminders for the rest of the week.

Upon the actor’s arrival, sign in sheets were filled out and costume fittings began. As the day continued, cast sheets were checked, sent to print and uploaded online, notices were pinned to the already overflowing notice board and research for my Organisational Analysis and Management Research Paper continued. BRB news included the confirmation and announcement of the Arts Council England Capital Investment Programme Award – the renovation of the Thorp Street building was set to go ahead (http://brb.org.uk/7773.html). As well as a published article about BRB getting the UK”s first ETC EOS Ti console (http://www.plsn.com/international-news/12071-birmingham-royal-ballet-gets-uks-first-etc-eos-ti-console.html) – a technologically correct term for an unbelievably cool lighting system!

The stage rehearsal began and the talk of the company was Momoko Hirata, Principal Dancer, she apologised for doing ‘too many’ turns i.e. 5(!!!!!) – we all wished in envy that that were our biggest problem! House Manager of The Sunderland Empire, Karen, took a seat on our comfortable company office sofa before discussing the necessary logistics for Sleeping Beauty i.e. programmes, merchandise, latecomers, special effects, upcoming friends and special events etc. I also liaised with Natasha Massie, arranging a time to meet her on Saturday when I would be helping out with the ‘Family Fun Day’. I thoroughly enjoyed helping out at The Lowry in Salford and was looking forward to wearing my Birmingham Royal Ballet Ambassador t-shirt again!

As the evening’s performance grew closer, preparations took place. The Orchestra arrived and began tuning, ready meals were bought from Tesco and suits were located on the many rails and rails of clothes.

Before we could fill Friday morning with breakfast we swiftly made our way to the theatre to check the cast sheets for the matinee performance before sending them to the local printing company. On our return, call sheets for next week and a reminder about the clock’s going back were pinned to the notice board by Stage Door. The afternoon’s cast sheets arrived; I grabbed 4 copies and the delivery note. The rest of the day was filled with more cast sheets as that evening and tomorrow’s matinee was amended before adding them to the Internet. Notes and questions were prepared for a meeting I was having with Pearl Chesterman, Director for Learning, regarding my Organisational Analysis assignment later in the day.

Paul organised the company seats for that evening, saving one as he planned to watch the performance. With the Company Manager radio in my hand the curtain went up and everywhere was filled with the magic of ballet once again!

Saturday, our last day in Sunderland, nevertheless still lots going on! The main part of the day was spent at BRB’s Activity Day/Family Fun Day. Set up for this began around 11am, costumes were brought down (past and present), stickers and story sheets and comedy picture boards placed. Just as it was in Salford and Birmingham the Activity Day was a huge success, the audience relished in having an insight into backstage as they held costumes, watched the reset and listened to Ruth Brill (Artist) as she spoke through doing her make up. During this time, I had an insightful discussion with one of the Friends of BRB as he told me all about a ballet he had gone to see based on the life of Charlie Chaplin.

Throughout the matinee performance I ran around the dressing rooms acquiring signatures from as many dancers as possible on a poster for the staff at The Sunderland Empire. I also completed any outstanding tasks, packed up my things in the office and prepared to depart Sunderland, a place I had become very fond of during my quick visit.

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