Team Talk – Charlotte, Personal Assistant (and Drama Star)
Agent E-Newsletter Article, May 2019
Charlotte works as personal assistant to Peter Etherton whilst also managing our Human Resources. She also has a hidden talent away from the office… She is part of an Amateur Dramatics group which perform all over the South West of England twice a year. Drama is a compulsory part of all of our courses, we use it to help students with their spoken English and to develop their confidence and team spirit. Read on for more about Charlotte and some amazing photos from her most recent performance in CATS!
Can you tell us something about your career / study so far? I studied history at university many years ago and then went on to train as a social worker which I did for about 10 years. I worked with children and their families before I went on to work with adults with Learning Disabilities. It was a really rewarding job but also very challenging at times! I decided that I wanted a change and worked for a summer at Etherton as the Travel Co-ordinator and did a couple of different office jobs, (I even worked on a building site for a nuclear power station!) before coming back to Etherton. I really enjoy working here and love getting to meet all of the brilliant staff that we have and the great students that come.
What is your personal philosophy? Always try to be kind and treat other people how you would like to be treated.
What is the best place you have travelled to and why? I’m really lucky to have travelled to lots of places so it’s hard to choose! I would say that some highlights would be Kenya, Zimbabwe and Mozambique for the amazing wildlife and spectacular scenery; Seattle in the USA for the best book shops and coffee; New Zealand for the volcanoes, mountains and glaciers; the east coast of Sicily as I lived there for 6 months and loved everything about it; and finally Venice which I visited for the first time this year, it was truly magical.
What is the one food you cannot resist? I always love pizza, but I’ve got a really sweet tooth so cakes and biscuits are my real love! Especially those that are chocolate flavoured!
We hear you are quite the drama star – how did you get in to drama? I started ballet lessons when I was 3 and always enjoyed performing, so got into drama that way when I was at school. I did it for GCSE and A-Level and absolutely loved it. When I finished university I joined a couple of local drama groups as I missed it, and also as a great way to make new friends.
What is CATS and how did it go? “Cats” is a famous musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber and is based on poems written by T.S. Elliot about a group of cats that meet once a year for a ball. When the show was first performed in 1981 people didn’t know what to expect but audiences loved it and the show was the longest running in London, it was performed for 21 years! I loved performing in the show and it was a lot of fun. It was very hard work too as there is lots of dancing and you have to pretend to be a cat for the whole show. We had packed audiences and they all loved it, they were amazed at the spectacle of so many people performing together, and all in brilliant cat costumes.
Why would you encourage people to get involved in Drama? The main thing is that it is great fun! It is also a really good form of escape as you get to pretend to be other people and think about something other than your normal daily routine. You get to meet all sorts of different people of all ages and make brilliant friends. It is incredibly satisfying to put a show together from nothing and give an audience so much pleasure. There is a huge rush of adrenaline when you are performing and you can tell that the audience is having fun. I also enjoy helping with costumes, props or the set, as these things are also essential for the overall performance. Lastly, if you are doing a lot of movement or dance it can be really good exercise!
How do you think Drama helps our students on our courses? It massively helps with our student’s confidence, in lots of ways. Practising English in a different environment outside of the classroom helps increase their confidence using English, and performing in front of their peers increases their overall confidence. Drama also helps students learn and develop their skills in team work and collaboration which are essential for life; whether you have 50 words or 5 words in a performance everybody is important and has to work together or the show won’t work. They also have to learn about finding costumes, props, music and lights, which helps them learn about the wider team needed to put on a performance, as well as testing their organisational skills! Finally, it helps them to mix and work with other students that they may not otherwise and helps new friendships develop. Drama helps our students in so many ways, all while they are having fun!
Take a look at the wonderful photos below – courtesy of Charlotte and Clayton Jane Photography.