Our conversation with our past ambassador coordinators continues! Passing on the baton from last year’s conversation with Louisa Vilinne to Lee Wei Ting, here’s an insight of her role as an ambassador coordinator and her experience through TheatreWorks Ambassadors’ Programme (TAP). Scroll down to start reading more!
…It is a refreshing experience to get to know [people from different walks of life].
– Lee Wei Ting, TAP’s Past Ambassador Coordinator
Do share with us your role as Ambassadors’ Coordinator.
As the Ambassadors’ Coordinator, I managed the volunteer database as well as the Ambassadors’ blog. I worked closely with the TheatreWorks team to understand the required manpower needs in each production and coordinated the volunteer call. I would also often communicate and work alongside Ezzat (TheatreWorks’ Engagement Executive) to organise volunteer recruitments and engagement programmes as an extension of the volunteer opportunities. I would also be present on days of the production to brief volunteers on what they can expect from their duties and to assist in these duties myself.
How has this experience changed your views on arts volunteerism?
I always had the perception that only those who are keen supporter of the arts would find time to volunteer in arts related events. However, through my experience as Ambassadors’ Coordinator, I have actually come across people from different walks of life. They are either volunteering out of curiosity or are avid volunteers in different fields of work themselves (E.g. Sports: ASEAN Paralympics Games 2015, Marathons etc.). It is a refreshing experience to get to know them. Some of them told me that besides it being their first time volunteering at TheatreWorks, it was actually also their first time being involved in the arts! They also shared how new an experience it was for them to view the performance space before a show, to manage late comers cue and, the best of it all, standing in to catch the performance itself!
It was through my experience as a coordinator that made me realise the value of arts volunteerism. Arts volunteerism is not only an indication of the amount of support and dedication people have to the arts industry. It also serves as a platform for the public to be introduced and engaged with the arts. Therefore, it is important for volunteer managers like myself to cater to these group of volunteers. What I learned is that it all goes down to the basics of a volunteer experience. It is important for volunteer managers to familiarise volunteers about the event, and explain certain technical terms which may only be familiar with art goers (Eg. stage right, stage left, latercomers cue etc.) This can reduce the risk for any miscommunication and increase the efficiency of work to be carried out on days of the production. As volunteer opportunities may be several non-art goers first step into the arts, it is important for volunteer managers to look into shaping an accessible volunteer experience. This helps volunteers have the room to explore and not feel intimidated in a field which they may not be familiar with. The best outcome? They may eventually become art advocates as well!
What were some of the challenges you faced as Coordinator?
Being wary of the wide age group between some volunteers and myself, I was worried that volunteers would not be convinced of what I had to say to them. Initially, I find myself wanting to sugar coat my words whenever I spot volunteers behaving inappropriately when they are on duty (Inappropriate behaviours such as checking their phones, slouching and hiding at a corner). I did not have the guts to confront and correct them. However, after some time, I realised that this worry of mine may be of negative influence to younger volunteers who are volunteering alongside the older volunteers. Younger volunteers who may not realise the consequence of such behaviours may eventually imitate them and this comes as a result of my fear to take proper action. I reflected after the first two shifts which I was involved in and came to a conclusion that it was crucial for me to present my stand clearly and most importantly, to avoid having double standards when treating the volunteers.
What do you wish to see in TAP in the future?
I wish to see a greater variety of volunteer roles in TAP in the future! Currently, most (if not all) volunteer duties revolve around Front-Of-House (FOH) duties. Volunteers may be skilled in areas such as media and publicity, props design and web design which TheatreWorks may find helpful with. Through such opportunities, volunteers would not only have a chance to hone their skills, they will be allowed to showcase the best of their abilities through such industry related projects as well!
Find out more about our past ambassador coordinators, Sara Lau and Louisa Vilinne, through the conversations below!
Interested in getting more insights and fulfilling experiences in the arts industry? Click HERE to join our TAP family right now!