Work experience with Arts Emergency and Coney

Last week was an exciting and busy one for Coney. We hosted our biggest fundraiser to date, A Night of Coney, where we welcomed 70 people from all walks of life to join and play a one-off piece of mystery theatre, The Homecoming. We are so grateful to everyone who donated, and we’re delighted to have met some wonderful new friends over A Dinner of Coney.

Creating delightful chaos in The Homecoming - and the biggest cardboard fort we've ever seen.

Creating delightful chaos – and one of the biggest cardboard forts we’ve ever seen – in The Homecoming.

In the midst of our preparations A Night of Coney, we were lucky enough to host a brilliant work experience placement through Arts Emergency. Our visitor to the Coney family, Hosanna, writes about her time with us:

Hello there, my name is Hosanna Johnson and I’m 18. I’ve just finished the long period of compulsory education and, after finishing my A Levels, I’m figuring out what my next steps are going to be in order to pursue a career in theatre and performance. That’s where I want to be working for the rest of my life and one of the ways that I can get closer to this ultimate goal is by having work experience.

I was given a placement at a small charity organisation called Coney. They use forms of theatre, creativity and most importantly, play, to connect all sorts of people through their interactive theatre games. I belong to another charity run organisation called Arts Emergency that aims to help young people like me; who have an arts base passion but may have less opportunities to turn this excitement and skill for their artform into a career. Arts Emergency gives us a leg up in getting into a very exclusive industry and through their work, I found out about Coney and my placement with them.

I started my placement on Monday the 15th of July where I was welcomed into the Coney HQ and learnt more about Coney’s humble beginnings in 2002. Each of their interactive pieces are tailored to their unique audiences ranging from school children, reoffenders and everyone in-between. On my first day I was trusted take minutes for Coney’s HQ1 weekly meeting. Having responsibility over this role, and eating lunch with the Coney staff, gave me a great insight into Coney’s current projects and made me feel like part of the team.

A Night of Coney was their big fundraising event which the company had been working towards for a few months prior to my arrival at the final week before the event. It was great to assist during a very busy time. My proudest achievement of the week was being the sole mode of production for the creation of 70 party bags – by the 30th bag I had an efficient system and was setting out batches of 5 with skill and quality. By 50th bag I was glad that there were other jobs that I could get stuck into.

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I got to papier-mâché a balloon, use a contactless card for the first time, assemble huge cardboard boxes into one ginormous cardboard box for A Night of Coney, eat vegetarian and vegan lunches, post a letter, wrap the huge boxes in paper, design an order of play, blow up balloons, help move offices, shadow the admin work, meet the people that work in Artsadmin and Toynbee Studios, create party bags, build a huge fort, and meet a lovely bunch of creatives at Coney HQ.

It was all a great working experience where I was doing anything from cutting vast quantities of paper for the order of play and buying milk for tea, to walking around with a gorilla-suit head as hat. Doing all of that to fundraise money for Coney and all their engaging work has been wonderful.

From September, I’ll be working as a Technical Apprentice at the Royal Opera House. If I’m ever require to curl ribbon, I’ll be well prepared.

A special thanks to Rowan, Natalie, Becki, Toby, David, Tassos and Zara for having me.

If you’re interested in organising a placement at Coney HQ, give us a knock! We can only host work experience placements as part of an established scheme or academic course, as part of our commitment to opening up access to the arts. If you’re not sure whether that’s you, drop us a line – we’re always open to a conversation about how we can share insights into our work.

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