Festival Internships 2017

Want to work in the arts? Gain some experience? Work with world class international artists and writers? AND have fun? Look no further – applications for our festival internships for 2017 are open!

Every year, Buxton Festival offers a number of festival internships for people who would like to work in the arts and events industries. The internships are a fantastic opportunity to experience working for a prestigious festival in a variety of different arts roles. Past interns have secured jobs with a variety of prestigious institutions, including Wembley Arena, the Lowry Theatre, and even here at Buxton Festival! During your internship, you will have the chance to see as many Festival events as you can get to, from world-class opera to celebrated chamber groups and the famous faces of our book series. Being a festival intern is rewarding but also very hard work. We are therefore looking for enthusiastic and hardworking people who thrive on long days and can withstand the pressure of the festival. This year, placements will run from the 3rd to the 26th July in Buxton.  The placements are unpaid, but we do provide accommodation in Buxton, and £500 towards your food and travel expenses.

For our 2017 festival, we are offering the following internships:

Music/opera intern x 3, your duties will include:

  • operating the Festival opera surtitles (some additional rehearsals w/c 24th June)
  • working with the Concerts Manager
  • stewarding events
  • page-turning
  • front-of-house duties
  • venue set-up
  • general ‘running’
  • admin in the Festival office

Book series intern x 1, your duties will include:

  • liaising with authors
  • author meet and greet
  • venue set-up
  • stewarding events
  • front of house duties
  • general ‘running’
  • admin in the Festival office

Concerts Assistant x1, your duties will include:

  • working with Concerts Manager, Technical assistant and artists
  • co-ordinating stage builds and venue set-up
  • page-turning
  • stewarding events
  • front of house duties
  • general ‘running’
  • admin in the Festival office

Artistic Admin and Marketing Assistant x 1, your duties will include:

  • managing social media accounts during festival and festival events
  • updating and writing blogs
  • supporting the Executive Assistant
  • admin in the Festival office
  • front-of-house duties
  • venue set-up
  • general ‘running

Competition for these exciting roles is strong and places are limited. If you would like to apply please send a CV and covering letter detailing which role you are applying for, and any relevant skills and experience you think you could bring to the role to Graihagh@buxtonfestival.co.uk.

Closing date – 24th February 2017

Guest blog: Ella Marchment on her Buxton Festival experience

After five years, five different jobs, five birthdays during London rehearsals, and sixteen productions, Buxton Festival has become so integral to shaping the artist I am today that I might well have been the privileged inhabitant of a fairy tale land for the past five years. At 24 years old, even though I am still one of the youngest company members I am only out-Buxtoned (in terms of years at the Festival) by head of music Annette Saunders (whom legend suggests has been at Buxton since the dawn of time), costume supervisor Mark Jones (who I got off to a great start with by blowing the fuse box of the house we lived in in Buxton year 1), production manager Sam Fraser, and I am also pipped to the post by Stephen Barlow by a year (he conducted a production in 2010). I’ve lived through the reign of two executive directors, and through the operas I’ve travelled between domestic confrontations in Austria to opium induced hallucinations in France, via the Italian mafia, Beethoven’s quest to find his eternal love in Vienna, and most recently ended up with William Shakespeare’s dead body and widow in Stratford.

I love opera because I love telling stories, and Buxton has provided me with invaluable opportunities over the years to indulge wholeheartedly in a fabulous variety of exotic and exciting tales, executed to incredibly high and exacting standards. Not only have I expanded my knowledge and comprehension of operatic repertoire through Buxton, but through the various jobs I have had in the Festival I have acquired the tools needed in order to run my own companies, to direct my own shows, to be a spokesperson for my genre, and to be independent minded. But most importantly of all, Buxton has taught me to value teamwork and collaboration.

My Buxton journey started aged 19 (yes actually in the Buddhist Arts Centre at Bethnal Green) in a production introduction for Intermezzo. I had written to over fifty companies asking for internships or to work as an assistant director and Buxton – via Randall Shannon’s predecessor Glyn Foley – was one of the only places that responded saying that they would take me on as a stage management intern. I leapt at the opportunity as I know that I am never happier than when I am in rehearsals, and immediately threw myself into supporting the stage management team on the three opera productions that year for Buxton. I spent most of the four weeks of London rehearsals making paper props for the various productions, and famously went on a wild goose chase around London for chocolate coins that Stephen Lawless insisted on having, only managing to find them after half a day of hunting in…

Harrods…in the form of chocolate Olympic medals. (I did mention that Buxton has a commitment to quality right?)

However, I already knew that I wanted to be a director, and within a few days most of the Buxton company did too as I would sneak into the back of rehearsals whenever I could with my score and sit in the corner whilst making props trying to grab glimpses of the rehearsal process. I. Was. In. Heaven. Not only that year did I learn how to make all sorts of period letters, but I gained an overview of the operatic production process.

I actually did a little dance for joy when Stephen Barlow asked me back the following year as the Young Artist assistant director. This time I was actually allowed to be in the rehearsal room all the time and doing what I dreamed of doing in the Festival. Also, the nature of the Young Artists Programme meant that as well as the two main productions, I was also introduced to two relatively contemporary pieces of music theatre (Stephen Oliver’s Exposition of a Picture and Stravinsky’s Renard) and felt like I really belonged to the team of other Young Artists.

After two years of incubation Stephen Barlow and Unwin agreed that it was time to unleash me as an assistant on the main productions – a role that I have now fulfilled on Stephen Unwin’s The Jacobin (2014) and Lucia di Lammermoor (2015), and Stephen Medcalf’s Leonore (2016). I was simultaneously allowed to sink my teeth into the concert operas from that year too (I looked after Rossini’s Otello in 2014 and Louise in 2015), and pre-performance talks.

I have now been at Buxton longer than I was ever at any school, and in many ways the Festival has given me far more practical skills and knowledge of my chosen industry than any other institution, college or school. I’ve looked forward to Buxton every year like a small child excitedly waiting to rush down to see whether Santa has visited on Christmas morning. Every year as soon as I’ve known I’ve been returning I’ve counted down the months in eager anticipation of another year, another opera, another opportunity to help another director bring their ideas to fruition, and another opportunity to spend time with a company that has become like a second family to me.

But what I am most grateful to Buxton for is for the fact that they have trusted in my competence as an artist and have taken risks in me at every turn. In the first year bringing me into a production department that I had virtually no prior knowledge of, in the second year giving me a real role in a company whilst most of my peers were still safe within the bounds of University life, for giving me my first real assistant jobs, for letting me look after the design of the concerts, for letting my imagination run wild in the cover shows, for giving me the opportunity to practice public speaking, and – most recently – for being co-producers in Helios Collective’s (the company I founded in December 2012) Hathaway in the 2016 Festival and providing me with an invaluable opportunity as a young director. Buxton has had faith where very few others have, and for that I will never be able to thank the family enough. Buxton isn’t just a job, it’s a way of life.

Ella Marchment Assistant Director Leonore

Young Artists Programme 2016

Every year, Buxton Festival runs a Young Artists Programme which offers young opera singers a professional platform to train, rehearse and perform alongside principals in our productions. This year, seven young singers from the Royal Northern College of Music performed in Beethoven’s Leonore. Here, they reflect on their time at the Festival.

Matt Mears Tenor

The Young Artist Programme at Buxton Opera Festival has been an amazing experience this summer. The opportunity to be involved in a professional production, working with such talented performers, production team and staff, is invaluable to us as young performers. I have particularly enjoyed working with the rest of the Young Artists this year, it’s great to work with so many friends on a project over a couple of months. Once we were in and around Buxton itself we could relax and enjoy performing in Leonore, as well as watching the other amazing productions. 

Matthew Palfreyman Tenor

It was an incredible privilege to be able to perform as one of the young artists in the Buxton Festival Opera this year. Working on a full opera from the start of the rehearsal process to the final performance was an enlightening experience and gave me an insight into many aspects of rehearsal, organisation and performance that I had not previously been aware of. As a postgraduate student the opportunity to work with a professional chorus was invaluable at this stage of my education. The experience helped me to develop a deeper understanding of professional opera and allowed me to make further connections within the industry. Working as part of Buxton Festival Opera gave me the confidence and skills to successfully audition for roles in other Opera productions. Leonore was an inspired choice of opera and to work in Buxton was a real delight. I would love to return to work with the Festival Opera.

Ranald McCusker Tenor

The Young Artist Programme offers a real insight into the professional world of opera. For a young singer, the programme is an opportunity to work professionally with experienced singers and accustomed musicians. I had a rewarding time with the company with some great colleagues. The performances will always be a highlight, and I feel I have left with more stagecraft experience and I am grateful to have worked with some great singers. I had some memorable times with great friends, and I hope to work with Buxton again at some point in the future. 

Henry Ngan Tenor

I graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music with a Masters. The Young Artists Programme is a great opportunity for us to participate in such a large opera and music festival, singing alongside world-class artists. This provided an essential platform for us to gain stage experience, responding to conductor and director’s command and our sense of space on stage. As a Young Artist, I also received some coaching sessions with different Festival music staff to assist with my learning and practice, and I became much more aware of my singing and musicality. Buxton is a very beautiful place and it was great to sing in the historical opera house, which is very elegant and detailed, like the music we produced. All the colleagues were nice and energetic, and together we created a warm and friendly atmosphere. I thoroughly enjoyed every part of the programme.

Ed Gaffney Baritone

My name is Ed and I have loved being part of Buxton Festival this summer as a young artist. I am currently a student at the Royal Northern College of Music and first experienced the Festival as an intern two years ago. I quickly fell for the charm of Buxton and was inspired by the talented artists and staff. Therefore, I was thrilled to gain a place on the Young Artist Programme (YAP) this year. The programme has offered me the opportunity to join a professional cast and crew and experience the creative construction of one of the Festival’s operas from score to performance. The YAP provides an insight into rehearsal etiquette and allowed us to fully integrate into the Festival Chorus. We also received coaching as part of the programme which was led by the hugely experienced and renowned music staff that work as part of the Festival. Being a Buxton Young Artist has been such an important step along my opera training path, providing me with a clearer outlook on the journey ahead. 

Matthew Nuttall Baritone

I auditioned for Buxton’s Young Artists Programme to gain professional experience in the opera world. The programme has been great, rehearsing and being on stage with such talented singers and musicians has been amazing. I have had an incredible time with colleagues old and new and I can only smile looking back on my experience as a chorus member in Beethoven’s Leonore. Being a Young Artist has had many rewards for me; the whole process has been fantastic and I have gained so much experience in the last month, watching, listening to and being involved with the production. My time at Buxton has been one I’ll never forget and I hope I can return again in the future.

David Cane Baritone

It has been a real pleasure participating in the Buxton Festival on the Young Artists Programme this year, performing in the chorus of Leonore. From the first rehearsal in London we were all made to feel very welcome by the production team and all the other members of the company. I loved the overall concept for the production and it was great fun working alongside the Festival Chorus, even if my knees didn’t enjoy it quite as much – what with all the crawling! During the Festival itself, it was fantastic to get to know Buxton as a town – and there was so much going on all over the place! What an amazing way to spend the summer – working with such talented and inspiring musicians and for such a friendly team!

 

Life as a Buxton Festival intern

I returned to the beautiful town of Buxton after many years as a competitor at the Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, when I was a teenager. To be able to return to the town, to work at the ‘other’ festival has been a huge joy.

I have had the opportunity to operate the surtitles for I Capuleti e i Montecchi which has given me lots of experience in an area I didn’t have any before. My quick music reading skills have improved dramatically even in a short space of time and that is an invaluable experience I now have.

I was also given the responsibility of running the Gardens Marquee venue, at times when the Venue Manager, Jean, was working in the Pavilion Arts Centre. Jean was wonderful and was very trusting to hand over the reins to me! I hope I did a good job and thank her for giving me this experience.

I also have learnt a huge amount about the development of the Festival – taking part in post-show drinks with sponsors and corporate partners. Of course, I have thoroughly enjoyed getting to know all of the Friends of the Festival on numerous occasions, many of which I have worked with as front of house at the PAC, the Gardens Marquee or at St John’s Church. Their commitment and dedication to the Festival is unparalleled and I have had the upmost pleasure getting to know some of them.

Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience as a Festival intern; one I will cherish forever.

Olivia O’Connell Festival intern 2016

Welcome to our interns!

Each year, the Festival welcomes seven interns to work behind the scenes, whether that be running the opera surtitles, page-turning, working front of house, managing artists’ riders or doing some social media (because we’re very social media savvy here), each day is varied and different from the last! I was an intern a couple of years ago at the Festival and absolutely loved it – the sheer variety of tasks and fast-paced environment; meeting new people and gaining new experiences. I’m really looking forward to welcoming our interns this year, and thought I’d have a quick catch up with them all to find out what they’re looking forward to at Buxton.

Verena Silcher

Verena Silcher

Most of all, I’m looking forward to being surrounded by music every day and to be involved in the day to day running of a large and exciting festival. The internship scheme is such a great opportunity to gain hands on experience and I’m really grateful to be able to find out more about how everything works and what challenges I’ll encounter. I’m particularly looking forward to operating the surtitles for Beethoven’s Leonore and since I’ve played the cello from the age of six, I certainly don’t want to miss Lionel Handy’s concert on July 21. Last but not least I’m looking forward to exploring Buxton and of course to meeting my fellow interns.

Olivia O'Connell

Olivia O’Connell

I’m eagerly anticipating my return to Buxton Opera House after spending my summers as a teenager performing on its stage. But, I’m equally as excited to work behind the scenes and with the creative and technical staff and hope to gain insight into the ‘other’ side of the glorious Opera House. I’ll be working on a new production of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi – a variation on Romeo and Juliet – in the year marking 400 years after Shakespeare’s death!

Oliver Gildea

Oliver Gildea

I am very much looking forward to being part of the Buxton opera festival! I look forward to taking charge of the surtitles for Tamerlano and meeting lots of interesting new people whilst at the festival. I am very excited about the prospect of being able to work with and watch some amazingly talented musicians!

Philippa Ridgway

Pip Ridgway

I am delighted to be working for the Buxton Festival this year! I am excited to have a great festival experience, and I’m particularly looking forward to the opera productions, especially Tamerlano, and performances from Manchester Chamber Choir.

 

Emily Castles

Emily Castles

The Buxton Festival is a brilliant few weeks of literature, music and opera, and I am thrilled to be working at such a prestigious event and cannot wait to get stuck in! As a keen historian I am particularly looking forward to ‘An Evening of Murder with Dr Lucy Worsley’ as well as Josephine Wilkinson’s talk about the fifth wife of Henry Vlll, Katherine Howard. I am also extremely excited to watch David Crystal’s talk on Shakespeare and Claire Harman’s talk on Charlotte Brontë, exploring two of the biggest literary icons on their joint anniversaries through the eyes of the contemporary reader.

Matt ThomasMatt Thomas

I’m looking forward to actually watching one of the operas this year. For one reason or another, I didn’t manage it last year except for page-turning at the opera excerpts concerts.

 

 

Lee Moore

Lee Moore

I’m looking forward to being back in Buxton having done the internship last year! I’ll be working on the technical side of events, including microphone handling, stage set-up and sound checks. I like in particular the Music in the Cafe line-up this year.

We look forward to welcoming them very soon!

Lily Bracegirdle Executive Assistant

Buxton Poetry Competition – Now Open!

Buxton Poetry Competition is now open!

Our annual poetry competition is now accepting entries on the theme of Hidden. Here we talk to the competition organiser Claire Barlow.

Hi Claire, please can you tell us a bit about the history of the competition?

Hello, I’ve been running the competition for eight years now and every year it is a delight to be involved! The competition started when Buxton Festival and the University of Derby got together to create a joint project which would encourage people from across the country to have a go at creative writing. We had no idea that we would get so many great entries over the years and from people as far away as Australia, the United States and Brazil!

Wow, do people really enter from Brazil?

Yes they do, and we get entries from across Europe too. Every year I look forward to getting a parcel of entries from the same school in Slovenia, it puts me to shame that the young people can write poetry in English when I can’t say ‘hello’ in Slovenian!

But you don’t judge the competition do you?

No I don’t (thank goodness, with 600 poems to read!) We have a great team of judges each year who do take the time to read all the poems entered and to create a shortlist of poems. Then the judges whittle that list down further to choose a first, second, third, Highly Commended and Commended winner from each category. We have three categories allowing poets of all ages to enter, there is Children’s Poetry for those under 12 years old, Young People’s Poetry for those aged 12 to 18 and our Open Category for poets over the age of 18. What’s great is that the Children’s and Young People’s Categories are free to enter so young people from all backgrounds can enter the competition without any financial barriers.

Are the judges the same each year?

Matt Black
Poet Matt Black

No, I like to have a few new faces each year to keep things fresh and fair. All judging is done totally anonymously, I make sure of that, but it is nice to know that we get new perspectives and opinions from our judges each year. This year we welcome Matt Black as our Open Category judge. Matt won the competition in 2013 so we’re delighted to welcome him back as a judge this time.

This year’s competition theme is Hidden, can you tell us why the poetry competition has a theme?

The idea behind having a theme is to focus writers’ attention and to provide a stimulus to spark the imagination. We want people to create new work for the competition not to just enter something that was written a few years ago that they submit to every competition going. I also really like the idea that we are creating a collective body of work. Each year we publish an anthology of the shortlisted poems and I feel that a theme gives that document added purpose and impact. It is also fascinating to see how poets interpret our theme. I usually have a few ideas of what people will write about, but each year there are winning poems that surprise me in the way they answer our brief, and that’s great!

Can schools enter the competition?

Yes, we love getting entries from schools from across the country. The entries can’t be group efforts though, each child needs to write their own poem. I think kids will love the theme this year, I imagine poems from the younger entrants about hidden treasure, hide-and-seek and lost toys.

What do people need to do to enter the competition?

You need to visit http://www.buxtonfestival.co.uk/outreach/poetry-competition/ to download an entry pack. This has all the competition rules and entry information plus a form to fill in to send back with your poems. The closing date of the competition is 26th August, so you have plenty of time to perfect your work. For any more information please send me an email at claire@buxtonfestival.co.uk.

When will the winners be announced?

The winners will be announced at the Buxton Festival Book Weekend in November 2016. At this special event we’ll hear all the shortlisted poems read by their authors, plus some work from our current and past judges. Then our Patron Lady Jasmine Cavendish will announce the winners of the competition for 2016. This year our top prize in the Open Category has been increased to £500 so it’s really worth having a go at entering the competition.

Thanks Claire, we’re off to write our entry now…

In association with

Derby Uni logo

 

Vacancy: Book Festival Intern

This is a unique opportunity to gain direct experience at one of the UK’s leading book festivals. We are looking for a talented individual who will play a key role in every aspect of the book festival. As the Book Festival Intern, you will report to the Festival’s Literary Manager. You will be first point of contact for our speakers and you will:

  • welcome high profile authors to our events
  • manage event schedules
  • work closely with professional venue management and technical teams
  • set-up venues and manage speakers’ riders
  • lead a team of Festival interns in microphone handling during event Q&As
  • liaise with accommodation and transport providers
  • write features for Festival blog and social media
  • liaise with Festival partner Waterstones to provide book signings at events

This is a hugely rewarding role that will help you on your way to a great job in the creative industries. Previous interns now work in the arts, events, publishing, media, education and travel and tourism sectors. We are looking for an enthusiastic, friendly, self-motivated person who will thrive on the long days, variety of roles and pressure of the Festival.

Buxton Festival is a 17-day celebration of opera, music and books. Every year we welcome over 30,000 people to our diverse programme of events. The book festival draws large audiences to talks by a range of the UK’s best authors. You’ll get to meet politicians, comedians, historians, actors, academics, novelists, biographers and much more! This year features comedian Alexei Sayle, bestselling novelist Paula Hawkins, TV personality Julia Bradbury, historian Dr Lucy Worsley and politician Vince Cable.

The placement will run from 4th July – 27th July in Buxton.  While the placements are unpaid we do provide simple accommodation in Buxton and £500 towards your food and travel expenses.

If you would like to apply please send a CV and covering letter telling us why you would be perfect for this exciting role to lily@buxtonfestival.co.uk

Closing date – 13th May 2016

Shirley Williams ITV interview
Baroness Shirley Williams being interviewed about her mother, Vera Brittain, by ITV in 2014
peter_hennessy1
Peter Hennessy talking about his book Establishment & Meritocracy at the 2015 Festival
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David Starkey on the Magna Carta at the Buxton Festival Book Weekend 2015
P1020701
Andrea Wulf signing her book The Invention of Nature at the Buxton Festival Book Weekend 2015

Internship programme 2016

Do you see yourself working in the arts? Want to gain some experience? Look no further!

In 2016 the placements will run from 4th July – 27th July in Buxton.  While the placements are unpaid we do provide simple accommodation in Buxton and £500 towards your food and travel expenses.

Being a Festival Intern can be a hugely rewarding experience that will help you on your way to a great job in the arts.  Past Festival Interns have gone on to work in a variety of settings including Wembley Arena, the Lowry Theatre and Buxton Festival!  Being a Festival Intern is also VERY hard work.  We are looking for enthusiastic, friendly, motivated people who will thrive on the long days, variety of roles and pressure of the Festival.

There are two types of internship available:

Festival Intern:

  • operating the Festival opera surtitles (some additional rehearsals w/c 24th June)
  • page-turning
  • stewarding events
  • front-of-house duties
  • venue set-up
  • general ‘running’
  • admin in the Festival office

Literary Series Intern:

  • venue set-up
  • front of house duties
  • liaising with authors
  • author meet and greet
  • general ‘running’
  • admin in the Festival office

You will have the chance to see as many Festival events as you can get to from world-class opera, to the best of UK chamber music to the famous faces of our literary series.

Competition for these exciting and rewarding roles is strong and places are limited.  If you would like to apply please send a CV and covering letter detailing which role you are applying for, and any relevant skills and experience you think you could bring to the role to lily@buxtonfestival.co.uk.

Closing date – 18th March 2015