From Grandma’s closet to the Canterbury tales and back: Interning at Prague Youth Theatre

Katharina Selbach, BA-student of culture, aesthetics and arts at the University of Hildesheim, Germany has recently completed a short-term internship with us. Here she talks about her experiences working with us:

There are several reasons why I decided to come to Prague Youth Theatre for my six week’s internship for my Bachelor’s degree of “culture, aesthetics and arts” in Germany.

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First of all, after several stays abroad for studying and working I’ve learned to appreciate living in another country for a while with all its culture, typical cuisine and locals. You can combine work-experience with a bit of a holiday-feeling. Of course, also as an intern, you are usually pretty busy but the time off is exciting the more because you have plenty of stuff to explore. Especially in a big city like Prague, there is so much you can see! Sometimes even the small changes to your everyday life are the enjoyable things- maybe the new jogging trail, your way to work, the local theatre programme or all the events taking place are the ones you won’t forget.

There are always challenges included but so many benefits as well. Being abroad makes you stronger, more self-confident and you improve your self-management. Moreover, another reason for interning abroad is that you can get a wider understanding of what it is you are doing in a global context. You might get new inspiration for your own work back home, get ideas for other recent projects just through a very precious exchange with colleagues. I feel, that especially in the theatrical scene, it is important to share each other’s experience. You can definitely learn a lot from them (I mean, that is what you are there for basically), but also you can give them new input. Sharing, taking and then adding your own to it is of what a lot is based on. So the more you get to know, the better it is!

With all of that, you build international connections and check out the people’s understanding of theatre which might be useful for you in the future too. Basically, you think outside the box at least for once which can just be beneficial for everything that you’ll do. At Prague Youth Theatre I had the chance to work with a lovely international team. The experience taught me a new perspective on the business, new strategies and a bit further working experience for myself.

The things I’ve gained:

Screen Shot 2018-10-09 at 10.28.321. Strategies to rehearse a play with a large group

I have definitely gained some new knowledge about how to deal with large groups of 30people or even more. I was used to teaching school classes of such size but never experienced a big group like that rehearsing for a play. Once more, I learned that sometimes it is good to be forced to find some new ways for dealing with situations. PYT in my eyes definitely managed to make a virtue out of necessity. They divide into smaller groups for each scene and devise it themselves. Members not included in the scene are an extra hand, they are an outside eye to give tips to all players involved. At the end of the lesson, they come back into one big group, show the current work status and talk about it after to go on improving the scene further. This way the members not only learn acting skills but also some of the other side of directing and devising. This way of working improves the educational aspect the more (which I love!).

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2. Experience with native- and non-native speakersScreen Shot 2018-10-09 at 10.28.46
“Prague’s only English language theatre for native and non-native speakers” that is how PYT promotes itself. The members are mixed and very international. For me as a non- native speaker it was interesting to observe how to deal with the different levels of English language of the kids within the groups. Especially in the Junior and preschool groups, there occurred some challenges with it. In the Senior and Advanced groups, there are for sure also differences, but they are usually all on a very decent level of understanding and speaking. As I am recently working on a project with non-native German speakers I got some good ideas how to start off with the women who are in the very beginning of learning German as well as ways how I can ensure that the theatre sessions are actually going to support them with improving their language skills.

 

3. Theatre from the beginning
Beside the pretty well-known youth theatre club structure which has been similar everywhere I’ve worked so far, PYT gave me the chance to get a look at preschool and primary school sessions. Thus, I’ve gained inside in a completely new age group and ways to introduce them to drama.

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4. LAMDA preparation
I really enjoyed observing the LAMDA preparation classes in acting, Shakespeare, public speaking and devising. As I just had very little experience with coaching for auditions it was enriching to see how such preparation lessons can be structured, what they consist of and of course to get some knowledge about LAMDA exams itself. I am sure that some of the ideas I can use for my further projects, mainly in theatre education.

To put my experience somehow in a conclusion, I want to recommend interning abroad in general as you get so much more out of it than just the working-experience itself. It is worth some extra time and additional cost. PYT was an inspiring place to intern at with a great team, a colourful schedule and the experience to be taken seriously. They want to make sure that regarding your skills and interests you get tasks to do. I got the chance to assist at different sessions, run warm-ups myself and observe and support in the daily business.

Thank you for the great time, PYT!

Prague Youth Theatre

English-speaking youth theatre in Prague. Empowering students aged 3-17 to connect with one another, develop confidence, and create impactful stories. www.pyt.cz

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