It’s my second week at Heartbreak and my first time in the office. Tucked in a courtyard in Leamington Spa, a five minute walk from the Jephson Gardens, I popped up the stairs to the office, navigating boxes of leaflets and merchandise and taking a look at the photos of previous productions on my way up. It’s intimate inside, there’s four desks, a kettle on the windowsill, and a home-made banana loaf to share. This is where the ‘real’ work begins.
With a cup of tea and a shortbread biscuit at hand, Nicci showed me around the company’s Google Drive and introduced me to MailChimp (as well as lots of Excel Spreadsheets).
‘Don’t worry if you can’t remember all of this,’ she said, ‘you’ll find your way around it soon enough’. Two hours later I had to ask her for the password to log onto the computer – good start.
For the rest of the morning Nicci showed me the templates for the Marketing Email Schedule, and then I had a play around making my own templates. I’ll be looking after the email schedule for the next ten weeks, so Nicci encouraged me to make it my own. Except for getting a little confused with importing Email Lists for different areas of the UK (such as Aberdeenshire, Hertfordshire, Worcester), I was comfortable working with MailChimp – it’s very similar to WordPress in terms of writing copy. I particularly enjoyed coming up with Subject Lines that would encourage people to open the emails.
‘There’s been a Murder on the Terrace of the Jephson Gardens,’ was a personal favourite for our show Murder on the Terrace – we’re still working on Taming of the Shrew and Northanger Abbey. Looking through the press photos to find my favourites was also great fun, the cast have very expressive faces.
We had lunch around a table in North Hall, with sandwiches bought from a local cafe. It was a pleasure to sit around the table with four intelligent, theatre-focussed women (Emily, Maddy, Nicci, and Julie). It was great to meet Julie, who does a lot of the admin work for Heartbreak, and Emily and I have a good friendship blossoming.
In the afternoon I was in charge of the money, separating takings to bring to the bank and creating a spreadsheet so that we can see how well sales of merchandise and programmes are doing.
I left the office around five-thirty feeling slightly daunted, I didn’t think Heartbreak would give me such responsibility so early on. But I am also incredibly excited to take charge of the email campaign, and all of the team are so supportive and willing to help. I’ll be back in the office on Thursday, ready to get to work.
Having just parked up on Russell Terrace, I checked my phone to find a text from Maddy telling me that I might need to go to her house to get a key for the office. Everyone had been at the performance of Taming of the Shrew in the Jephson Gardens last night, and it had rained – badly. She opened the door to me in a dressing gown and gave me two keys to be cut at a shop down the road.
‘Get two copies of this one, one of this one, and when you get to the office turn the laminator on and get the A3 Posters out for Northanger Abbey and Secret Garden. People are coming to collect them at 11’. It was now 10 o’clock.
I arrived at the office twenty minutes later with three new keys and a quest to find the laminator. The phone rang soon after and I was able to say ‘Good morning, Heartbreak Productions. Rebecca speaking’ for the very first time. Fortunately, it was Maddy on the other end and not a customer seeking help (for I feared how helpful I could be this soon in).
‘Sorry to land all of this on you,’ she said, talking me through how to find the over-copy for the posters to be printed, ‘you need to find a way to print them onto A5 labels off of an A4 PDF.’
A few moments (and a lot of A5 labels) later, I had got the over-copy perfectly aligned on the labels. The printer was alive with the sound of marketing. Fortunately, Emily arrived soon after to help me out, and between us we managed to make progress with both printing and laminating.
So, it had been a frantic morning, but all was soon forgotten when Maddy took us to lunch at a local curry house. Holding off pre-show and election nerves, we had some great food and got to know each other a little better – Maddy kindly pointed out that Emily and I say ‘like’ quite a lot. It must be a brummie thing! Emily said that I was a perfect fit for the office and that made me very happy indeed.
With Nicci’s arrival, the afternoon was spent doing marketing ‘stuff’. We tried to get on top of the email schedule that had been left behind for the past few weeks due to it being so busy! A highlight of the day came with the delivery of the Secret Garden merchandise – a butterfly and a packet of wild-flower seeds that come with the programme. Cutesy and delightful!
At five o-clock I left the office and headed to Gradball! I promised Nicci that I would access the Email Schedule at home and get up to date with it on Friday. So Friday afternoon was spent binge-watching House of Cards and RuPaul’s Drag Race whilst sending marketing emails to people around the UK. I feel like I am a MailChimp whizz now, and am very much looking forward to watching Secret Garden on Saturday evening.