Graduate Scheme

Theatre Management & Operations

 

We held a live Q&A on the 31st January 2017. You can read the full transcript here.

Each year, the UK’s biggest commercial theatre owner and operator invites two motivated, ambitious and talented individuals to take part in an inspiring two-year programme, fast-tracking their career in theatre management.

With 38 theatres in the UK, ATG offers a unique insight into commercial theatre management and venue operations. Trainees will develop a thorough understanding of the UK theatre industry through challenging placements in ATG’s renowned presenting theatres as well as its offices in London and Woking.

Through this scheme ATG seeks to nurture exceptional leaders, equipping them to take up future managerial positions in the company. The first year of the programme includes placements in regional and London venues and our Head Offices to develop a broad understanding of our business, followed by two six-month placements in the second year during which trainees take responsibility for crucial projects. You can find some examples of the work undertaken by previous trainees below.

Trainees take part in our internal leadership development programme, Rising Stars; this programme aims to grow a new generation of talented leaders for the business and trainees will work alongside other exceptional individuals identified from within the company.

Trainees also complete a wide variety of short training courses and have a coaching relationship with a senior member of ATG staff. Reflection is a key aspect of the scheme and trainees are pushed to take charge of their own development.

On completing the scheme, our intention is that trainees have an excellent understanding of the company’s current operation and potential, and are both skilled managers and inspiring leaders. This is a rare opportunity for those determined to forge a career in theatre management and make a real impact on ATG's UK business.

Scheme structure

Year One:

1 week induction at Charing Cross Road offices 
6 month regional venue placement 
1 week induction and reflection at Charing Cross Road offices
3 month insight placements in London and Woking centralised departments
3 month West End venue placement 

Year Two:

1 week induction and reflection at Charing Cross Road offices 
6 month project placement with a venue or central team 
1 week induction and reflection at Charing Cross Road offices
6 month project placement with a venue or central team

Placements could take place in any of our UK theatres; trainees should expect to work from at least four different bases across the country. Please note this structure is indicative and is likely to adapt as the needs of the business change. 

Please download a copy of the job description and person specification here

What is the scheme really like? Hear from our previous Graduate Trainees. 

Jamie Budgett and Rachel Lane were first to undertake the scheme, from 2014-2016. Rachel is now Deputy General Manager of Aylesbury Waterside Theatre and Jamie is Commercial Development Assistant in ATG’s London office.


Jamie

For my first placement I was based at the Milton Keynes Theatre, with the intention of gaining a good overview of ATG’s regional venue operation. With this as the goal I had the chance to spend some time working with every department in the theatre, often getting involved in projects with them, but my main focus was the Front of House and Marketing departments as well as the senior management team in the venue. For the second six months I worked in London and my time was split into two parts: half in a West End venue (mine being the Piccadilly Theatre) where the intention was to get an overview of how ATG’s West End venues operate, and half spending two or three days in each central department in both ATG’s Woking and Charing Cross offices. This gave us an insight into the role of each central department and how they support ATG’s venues. 

In comparison the second year placements were much more project focused, allowing me to get fully immersed into a certain aspect of the business. I spent my first six months in the central Customer Experience department, working specifically on the roll-out of ATG’s Bistro concept (restaurants in our regional theatres). The project was mainly focused around the brand management of the concept, as well as making recommendations on how to roll out the concept into regional venues. My final six months is based in the Ticketing department, specifically in London Sales, looking at the unused inventory in the West End and identifying new markets of theatre goers. 

The scheme is an amazing opportunity for any graduate looking for a career in theatre management. It is not often, in any company, that you get the chance to spend two years experiencing such a variety of different placements and this is what makes ATG’s Graduate Scheme an incredible springboard into the world of commercial theatre. 
 

Rachel

I studied History with German at university, whilst working front of house at the Milton Keynes Theatre. Despite my best efforts to write essays on theatrical topics (the politics of 18th century German operas, anyone?!), my degree does not naturally lead onto a career in the theatre industry. The ATG Graduate Scheme however allowed me to bridge the gaps between my studies, my skill set and my professional ambitions in a way that no other scheme promised to do. 

The scheme’s structure is tailored according to the development needs of each candidate; a perk of being one of two as opposed to part of a mighty trainee cohort. If you’re proactive, new opportunities to explore the business’ complexity and move across venues and departments arise daily. Fast-paced change characterises the trainee experience. I have lived in four different locations over the course of the two years, as necessitated by the different placements I have undertaken. It’s intense and overwhelming at times; it’s exhilarating and inspiring always.

The support you receive from not only line managers but all colleagues is tremendous, everyone wanting you to succeed and welcoming your curiosity about their role in ATG. The range of expertise housed within the company makes for a fascinatingly broad educational experience - valuable ‘food for thought’ in the early stages of my career. The scheme is less about amassing specialised knowledge on one particular topic and more about developing your understanding of the industry, your own skill set and your professional identity. I am very grateful that this was my start in the industry.


Adele Robinson and Thalia Caddy joined the scheme in 2015 and will complete in 2017.
 

Adele

Whilst studying Arts and Festivals Management at De Montfort University, I went to watch Headlong’s 1984 at Richmond Theatre in September 2013. During my second year I was researching every theatre I set foot in to see what career opportunities they had and if they did anything for graduates...and that’s when I came across the Graduate Scheme! I knew I wanted to run a major theatre and this was the perfect scheme to get me there.

I’ve began my graduate career at Milton Keynes Theatre for first six months where I worked in lots of different departments. I spent my first few months working directly with the Deputy General Manager, attending internal and external meetings, learning about deals, settlements and seeing the venue from every departments' point of view. I then delved into my first department placement with Front of House, just in time for Panto season. This was a fast paced and intense period, doing everything from serving behind the bar, cashing up, and taking in deliveries to duty managing performances and learning how to lead the front of house team. 

In my time with the Marketing team I learnt what it means to be a theatre marketer and gained insight into the many different aspects of the team’s work. I assisted with the brochure, analysed the just-completed pantomime, worked with designers to produce print and worked with internal and external stakeholders to set up competitions and offers. 

My final week was spent with the General Manager, attending meetings and seeing exactly what my dream job looked like! I’ve had an incredible introduction to ATG and look forward to the next chapter where I will spend six months at the Apollo Victoria and Head Office.
 

Thalia

As a third year Biology student studying at the University of Sheffield, I was really involved in the student theatre company, managing people in my role as chair and organising events with a local children’s theatre company. When I found out about the graduate scheme, I couldn’t wait to apply; it sounded perfect for me. After a competitive selection process, I had the opportunity to move to Liverpool for six months to work at the Empire Theatre, one of ATG’s regional venues. 

Here I spent time with the different departments in the theatre, such as Marketing, where I was handed over responsibility early on to lead on the marketing activity for our in-house restaurant, Lime St Bistro. My project management skills and understanding of marketing a business have increased and I had a valuable sense of ownership over a significant aspect of the venue. There was also a strong focus on developing my skills towards a career in venue management. I duty managed shows, handling customer complaints and supporting the Front of House team, which has developed my communication skills and my ability to maintain control in difficult situations.

From working on Britain’s Got Talent to helping with the youth theatre’s involvement in the Liverpool Luminous Landscapes lantern festival, every day has been exciting and different! 

I am looking forward to starting three months in the Harold Pinter theatre in the West End, before going on to three months of Head Office tasters, to develop my understanding of the wider business and integrate my knowledge of venue operations with centralised functions.
 

Things to consider

This scheme, alongside many other graduate programmes out there, is designed to be an intense opportunity to learn and will be a real challenge for the appointed trainees. There are some aspects of the scheme you should consider before applying that will help you decide if this scheme will suit you.
  • Relocation. Trainees could move home up to four times over two years, and some projects may involve national travel. You may be living away from your friends and family. You’ll learn a lot in return, but don’t underestimate the toll this can take.
  • Pressure. Graduate schemes pack a lot in! There are many opportunities in the company, and part of the challenge is managing your time. You’ll be working with people from across the business, many in very senior positions, and you’ll be expected to work at a management level very quickly. Some of this pressure will come from yourself – we know you want to do well!
  • Focus. The scheme is focused on managing venues – the people, buildings and activities. This isn’t an opportunity to develop as a specialist in one discipline such as marketing or production, but a chance to learn about the whole business and develop broad skills as a manager and business leader. Consider the difference between specialist and generalist roles and where you see yourself going.

What is the difference between the Graduate Scheme and the Office Internship?

The Office Internship is focussed on arts administration, whereas the Graduate Scheme is focussed on theatre management. The internship is a highly regarded, successful scheme in its own right and is not designed to lead on to the graduate scheme.

Office Interns work with us for three months and complete the scheme with the skills, experience and understanding of the company necessary to progress to junior roles in teams across the business. Past interns have progressed to a wide range of careers, both within ATG and externally; you can see examples on our internship page here.

The Graduate Scheme lasts for two years and is focussed specifically on senior venue management roles. 

Both schemes include the opportunity to learn about the wide variety of work ATG does and the different roles available in the company but the resulting career paths are intended to be different. The Office Internship is focussed on broad administrative skills that are relevant to all job roles, and at the end of the internship interns typically move on to junior roles in specialist ‘shared services’ departments or administrator roles in venues. Graduate trainees however must be focussed on theatre management and venue operations, but will learn about the different departments and functions so that they have a thorough understanding of how the business works as a whole. We think this will set trainees up well for senior venue management roles as these roles are ‘generalist’ and require you to have a good understanding of all elements of the business. 
 

Why are there only two places?

Firstly, we felt it was important to have a small cohort so that we can ensure we offer the right level of support and resources for the trainees. Secondly, the scheme needs to be proportionate to the size of our company and the number of appropriate roles available in our business for Graduate Trainees to progress to. Finally, we aim to develop and recruit staff in a number of different ways, as this makes our business stronger; staff will come to management positions from a number of different routes, including working their way up through the company and moving to ATG after working elsewhere. The scheme is not intended to be the only route into management roles in the company. 


Will I be guaranteed a job at the end of the Graduate Scheme?

A job is not guaranteed, but successful completion of the programme will mean you are suitably experienced and qualified to apply for senior venue management positions within the company. Other equivalent level roles may be available but we cannot predict what those might be; our business evolves very quickly! Our ideal candidate will be focussed on progressing to General Management, and beyond that to senior leadership roles. Trainees will have support from their staff mentors to manage the next steps of their career.  


When would I start?

Graduate Trainees join the company in September. Recruitment for each intake usually takes place from January-April of the same year.


What is the salary?

Graduate Trainees will be paid a competitive starting salary on a two-year fixed term contract, with a pay rise in the second year depending on performance. 


Where would I work?

ATG manages theatres up and down the UK, and has offices in central London and Woking. The location of each placement will depend on current projects and where the best learning opportunity can be found. We are looking for people who are flexible about their work location and are excited by the chance to travel and experience the breadth of our UK operations; our ideal candidates will readily move home to chase the best opportunities. ATG offers a generous relocation package to enable this, for both existing and new employees. 


If this could prevent you from applying, as a result of disability or caring responsibilities for example, please contact Zoƫ Briggs on zoebriggs@theambassadors.com for further advice.


Who can apply?

Applications will be accepted from anyone who is within one year of their undergraduate or postgraduate degree graduation on the date of application. This includes those who are about to graduate and those who have recently graduated.


What degree do I need?

An undergraduate or postgraduate degree. We will not specify requisite degree subjects, but we expect candidates to have achieved or be predicted at least a 2:1 degree. 

Aside from this, we do not award points in the recruitment process based on the subject of your degree or on your degree classification. 

If you are successful in your application and you have not yet completed your course, we will make a conditional offer based on achieving a 2:1. 


I already work for ATG, or I have completed an internship with the company. Does this exclude me from applying to the Graduate Scheme?

No. If you fulfil the other characteristics in the person specification you are very welcome to apply. Whether or not you are an internal candidate does not score you additional points in the recruitment process.

Please note that the internship and Graduate Scheme are not intended to lead on to one another. They are separate routes into the company and are designed to lead to different kinds of role. 

I need a visa to work in the UK. Can ATG sponsor me?

No. ATG does not sponsor candidates. You must have the right to work in the UK in order to apply.

What is the recruitment process?

The recruitment process includes an application form, a telephone interview, an assessment day and a panel interview. 

Each stage of the application process is assessed against the criteria set out in the person specification, by a team of staff from a range of ATG departments and roles. Application forms are marked by two independent members of staff and compared in order to make a shortlist to invite to the telephone interview stage.

The recruitment process is thorough and highly competitive; this shouldn’t put you off. If you are an ambitious person, passionate about commercial theatre management, learning new skills and taking on new challenges, then you should apply. 

How many applications do you receive?

We receive between 180 and 250 applications each year, equivalent to between 90 and 125 applications per place. 

Unfortunately, as a result of the volume of applications we receive, we are unable to offer feedback on your application form if you are not invited to the assessment day, unless you already work for ATG.

I want to work in theatre, but not in venue management. Where should I go?

There are many ways you can gain relevant experience or find relevant jobs in the industry.

At ATG, you could:
Take part in a Creative Learning project
Undertake work experience 
Check out job vacancies in the company 
Undertake a technical apprenticeship 
Apply for our Office Internship in arts administration 

For jobs and experience outside of ATG, you can find many opportunities on the following websites:
ArtsJobs
Hiive
CCSkills
Get into Theatre  
Guardian Jobs
ArtsProfessional
Stage One
StageJobsPro
The Stage 
TheatreCraft
ArtsHub
Escape the City
The Dots
The Creative Society
CreateJobs

How do I apply?

Applications for the ATG Graduate Scheme 2016-18 have now closed. Please register your interest for future schemes in the mailing list above. Please note we may pause the scheme or change the content at any time as the needs of the business change. 
 

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