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Life as a student producer: long days, doodles, and oodles of pot noodles

I started trying to write this a bunch of times, but it didn’t really flow. If this is an insight into my time at uni, about my day to day existence, then it’s probably just easier to give you a run-down of my usual day. I wake up at 8.30am probably. That’s my permanent alarm so that’s when I get up. Although all the health blogs tell you not to, I immediately scroll through the notifications on my phone. Lots of messages. It’s not all my friends telling me they love and appreciate me (it’s fine, I know they do), more likely to be group chats for every separate area of the latest show I’m doing. All of them have sent me direct messages, asking me to check the budget, or message someone, or email this person, or check this, etc. etc. Some of it will be exec stuff (I’m on two, but occupy two roles on both of those, so it feels like more).

I address all of the messages, then check my massive life-saver Google Doc which has everything I need to do on it. It’s a new addition to my life and has proved Very Necessary. I double check the rehearsal schedule for that day and rectify any issues. I then get on the bus, probably without having breakfast and definitely with no make-up on. I do my reading for my 11am seminar. I’ve got the bus about an hour early, because I get anxious on public transport, so I leave as much time as it takes for me to feel at ease.

A massive Google Doc is a new addition to my life and it has proved Very Necessary

I get to campus about an hour before my seminar, and buy my first coffee of the day and then do more admin. This time it’s checking my emails. There’s a couple of press releases for shows I won’t be able to see and I’ve had an essay mark back. It’s not the mark I want, because I know that I did in three days at the end of last term, having put it off and prioritising theatre and, to be honest, sleep, over the essay. I’m annoyed with myself, and promise to do better next time. Then I run for the seminar that I’ve forgotten to finish the reading for.

This really isn’t meant to sound like I’m complaining because I’m not – I know everyone else also has the same amount of stuff to do as me. I’m just trying to be as accurate as possible.

I eat my pot noodles. I know it’s unhealthy, but I didn’t have time to cook

Immediately after my seminar I head to a meeting. Probably a production meeting, or an exec meeting. It’s fine, and it’s with my friends so we comfort each other whilst also asking more of each other. It’s a really hard balance. Then I get some boiling water and eat my pot noodles. I know it’s unhealthy, but I didn’t have time to cook. Then I look at the latest doodle for one of the shows I’m doing – no-one can make the same time. Again. There’s not much I can do except message around asking people to change commitments.

The day continues like that, and I might have a shift at the Arts Centre, or see a student show, or be in a rehearsal until around 9pm. Then unless one of my (lovely and generous) friends give me a lift, I get on the bus and am probably home at 10pm. I make myself a cup of tea and check my reading for tomorrow. Not done, but I’m too tired, so I head up to bed. Then, finally, I open my half-finished play. It’s super messy right now, but I just write for half an hour and it’s really nice. Or I call my mum. Or my friend cooks for me and it’s lovely. Or I just crash out and go to bed, after setting my alarm for 8.30am again.

Of all the theatre jobs, it’s the one I love the least, but see myself pursuing the most

I actually love it. I wouldn’t be happy if I wasn’t busy. This is what I do as a theatre producer at University. It’s not very glitzy, and I haven’t dreamed about doing it from when I was young. It can be really hard, and I don’t do it perfectly a lot of the time. It’s not the most fulfilling thing in the world. It is also definitely not the hardest thing I will ever do or have ever done. It is completely doable and often a lot of fun. Of all the theatre jobs, it’s the one I love the least, but see myself pursuing the most.

I love writing though, and it often reminds me why I love being involved in theatre. It’s a kind of ephemeral thing. The combination of both is invaluable, and so worth doing, even if I’ve made it sound awful. It’s not. It’s actually great.

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