Anna prepares for dream career with Royal Opera House work experience.

Anna prepares for dream career with Royal Opera House work experience.

EIGHTEEN-year-old Anna Chapman from Aldborough Hatch has been getting some hands-on experience of working in the arts as she has been undertaking work experience with the Royal Opera House (ROH) at the High House Production Park in Purfleet.


Anna Opera 1

Former Oaks Park High School student Anna, saw the opportunity of work experience with the ROH Learning and Participation team on the Royal Opera House website and successfully applied. She said: ‘I wanted to gain some practical experience in a prestigious Learning and Participation department. I am most interested in how the Learning and Participation team interacts with schools, especially on their Thurrock Trailblazer programme. I also wanted to discover more about their dance specific programmes.’

Anna’s dream career is within the arts: ‘I want to contribute to making the arts accessible to all. I want to get as much experience as possible in the sector, preferably through arts education. Ultimately, I would like to get a job working within the arts. I love photography too so I’m seeing how I could combine all my interests.’

Anna has shadowed Royal Opera House Learning and Participation Officer Hayley Ryan, in Thurrock. Anna has been supporting Hayley in organising the annual Thurrock Trailblazer Leadership Conference, which is open to all schools in Thurrock and across Essex. She has been minuting meetings, liaising with delegates, doing research for the keynote speaker and other participants, and collating resources. At the conference, she will also be posing questions about arts in education to the Head Teachers, School Senior Leaders and Arts Professionals attending. Anna has also attended some of the weekly Chance to Dance classes.

Talking of her time with the Royal Opera House, Anna said ‘It has been brilliant! Everyone is so supportive and have made me feel like a part of the team! I have loved every second! I’ve learnt so much already! I have learnt how the Learning and Participation department operates in Thurrock, how events are organised, how the team communicates with schools and how the ‘Chance to Dance’ programme works! I’m learning something new every day.’

Jon Winn, Work Experience and Training Officer at Royal Opera House said: ‘The Royal Opera House is passionate about ensuring that people from any background, have access to creative careers, particularly in areas they may not have previously considered, or maybe even known about. Three out of four of our employees work in a variety of technical, craft, administration and customer service roles. Through First Stage, our work experience scheme we offer people, who are either in education or in the early stage of their career in the sector, the opportunity to gain practical experience and invaluable insight into our working environments.’

Anna is full of enthusiasm for the experience saying: ‘I would definitely recommend it to others! This work experience has been invaluable! As well as learning lots and experiencing how the department works, I have enjoyed everything I have done so far. I know that this placement will help me progress to a future career, and I’m so thankful that I got to experience this amazing opportunity!’

Gabrielle Forster-Still, Head of Learning and Participation for the Royal Opera House in Thurrock said: ‘We are always delighted to have young people with us on work experience. It has been a pleasure to have Anna. Her enthusiasm, energy and willingness to learn have been infectious. She has been an enormous help with our annual conference. I am certain she will have a great career in the arts.’

There are currently two work experience placements available in Thurrock: in Scenic Carpentry, Scenic Art and Scenic Metalwork. New placements arise frequently so to find out more about these and other opportunities, please go to

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