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Our Programme Assistant Callum’s final blog

30th July 2020

My work placement with Motionhouse is over and what an experience it’s been! From travelling halfway across to the country to visit Bluestone Wales before the premiere of Starchitects, to seeing the huge crowds watching BLOCK at the Bullring my placement with Motionhouse has been a hugely valuable opportunity for me.  

I had an interest in producing and programming before coming to Motionhouse and thankfully they were able to accommodate that interest, placing me in the programming team as a Programme Assistant. Initially I thought it would primarily involve dealing with contracts for shows but now I see that there is far more to that role than I first thought. 

So, it began. I was worried about my first day. This was going to be my first ever ‘real’ job. Thankfully Programme Manager Amy had structured a meticulous plan for my induction weeks which immediately alleviated any worries I had. As I became familiar with the processes and policies of Motionhouse I was gradually given more tasks to do. I was introduced to the way weekly schedules for the dancers worked. I learned about the data I needed to collect and keep up to date for the Arts Council Annual Survey submission. 

However, one of the tasks that really stands out to me from that earlperiod was, honestly, one of the simplest. I was asked to go to the South Korean embassy in London in order to pick up visas for the performances of Captive in South Korea. Although this was a simple task it hammered home how the real world of touring dance works. After that I had to book airport transfers and check in the dancers and even though these are very minor parts of the overall logistics of a performance I was helping make it happen! 

As part of Surrey University’s placement year scheme, I knew I had to do a specific project, but I didn’t know what I could do as part of programming. Luckily Motionhouse were just starting work on a brand-new show in a brand-new format. Amy asked if I wanted to use this new show as my project, and so began one of the most exciting things I got to do at Motionhouse – Starchitects at Bluestone 

Starchitects is a fantastic show, the power of a child’s imagination is extraordinary and considering the successful SpaceX mission last month the stars once again seem within reach. I love its imagination, fun and current relevance. But even more than the artistry of the show the format it took for Motionhouse was itself a new frontier so to be a part of that was truly special. Starchitects, as a specific commission for the Cloud Theatre at Bluestone Waleshas a totally different set of organisational challenges which was a joy to work through. I’m grateful to have been involved in this logistically complex operation and know that I’ll be able to use these skills in the future. 

Overall as I look back on my time with Motionhouse I realised just how much have learnt, not only about how a world-class touring dance company operates but also my potential place in that industry or even how I could utilise my skills in other industries. Although it’s sad to say goodbye to everyone at Motionhouse I know that I’ll take everything I learned here into the future, wherever that may be.