My name's Helen, and I was recently given the incredible opportunity to join the Music Theatre Wales team as their social media producer, following the progress of their brand new production "The Trial', composed by Philip Glass. As a complete newbie to the world of opera (and, indeed, to the world of full-time employment, having just graduated from university this Summer), I had a lot to learn, but the team made me feel welcome very quickly, for which I am extremely grateful.
As I'm sure you already know, online promotion and communication is becoming increasingly important for organisations, including those in the performing arts world. Music Theatre Wales decided that they wanted to develop much more of an online conversation with fans and potential audiences, which is where I fit in. My role was to "communicate the heart and soul of the company" to online audiences. Rather than churning out streams of promotional material, this meant capturing - via videos, photos, and social media output - the real behind-the-scenes process of The Trial, from rehearsal studio to tour venues. For me, seeing the opera take shape from a libretto (which I learned in week 1 is opera lingo for "script") to a complex performance involving larger-than-life characters, countless set and costume changes, and of course a 12-piece ensemble, was completely magical - and that's exactly what we wanted to share with audiences.
As part of the project, I also followed the production when rehearsals moved to The Royal Opera House, staying and working in London for two weeks, which was another fantastic experience. Here, the show really started to come together, as the cast and ensemble began to rehearse together, and costumes, make-up and lighting were thrown into the mix. When opening night finally arrived, it was great to be able to speak to audience members about their thoughts on the show. Having worked with the team right from the start of the process, I felt strangely proud of the production, even though I'd had no hand in its creation! To hear people giving positive feedback about the show was fantastic.
What, ultimately, was the major factor in making this process an enjoyable one was the fantastic team of people I had the privilege to work with. From the cast and ensemble to the production team, everyone was so hardworking, talented, and above all, genuinely lovely to be around. For me, it was really important to get to know everyone early on, and to build up a trust which meant they could be confident that the content I was putting online was in no way designed to embarrass or compromise them. Over the course of the process, members of the team became more comfortable with the idea of being interviewed, which was brilliant because their insights into the process were so varied and interesting!
Overall, being a part of this process was such a privilege (have I said that already?), and to anyone who might be thinking of taking on a similar role - I can't emphasise enough how much enjoyment and experience my time with Music Theatre Wales has provided.
You can see the whole journey of The Trial on Storify.
To find out more about the production, visit the official website for The Trial.
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