El Prez: Erinna’s Time Being The Face Of Backstage.

      

Erinna is in her third and final year studying BSc Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Leeds, and is the Backstage President 17/18.

“I have learned that the role of President is so much more than what is written on paper”

Being President of Backstage this past year has been the toughest but most rewarding thing I’ve done at Uni, and also one of the best things I’ve been able to add to my CV! As mentioned in the constitution, my main responsibilities as President are to organise and oversee the running of the Society, and to chair committee meetings, AGMs and EGMs. However, I have learned that the role of President is so much more than what is written on paper.

“I also have regular catch ups with LUU’s Theatre and Performance Manager to ensure that everything is going smoothly”

Being President means being the main point of contact for Backstage (alongside the Secretary), not just to people outside the society. You can say that it is like being the ‘face’ of the society! I am also responsible for taking on other committee members’ duties, or assigning them to another committee member, should they be unable to fulfil them. Basically, I make sure everyone does their job and that things get done! I also have regular catch ups with LUU’s Theatre and Performance Manager to ensure that everything is going smoothly and resolve any potential issues before they arise. It is also tradition for the President to PM that year’s Rileys (although it isn’t a must!), so I’m PMing The Rileys 2018 (how exciting!)!

“It is so important that these relationships are continually developed as they are the people we work with most, and I have personally made some new friends through it!”

My duties as an Exec member, along with Katie and Chris Mee, include maintaining the healthy relationships we have with the various departments of LUU (mainly Venues/Tech, Activities and Facilities), performance and dance societies we work with, and our favourite hire companies: Zig Zag Lighting and 3D Productions. The way we did this was by having informal meetings with the Execs of the other performance societies at the beginning of the year just to introduce ourselves before shows start as we work so closely with them! It is so important that these relationships are continually developed as they are the people we work with most, and I have personally made some new friends through it!

“Being on committee is not just about fulfilling the duties that your specific role entails – it is also about being a good committee member in general”

I strongly believe that being on committee is not just about fulfilling the duties that your specific role entails – it is also about being a good committee member in general, i.e. going above and beyond what is required of you. How you do it is entirely up to you, as the role is whatever you define it to be! Being a committee member involves:

  1.      Getting to know everyone in the society so that they feel comfortable approaching us;
  2.      Ensuring members’ welfare and enjoyment;
  3.      Giving members what they want and giving back to them;
  4.      Encouraging the learning and development of members, especially newer ones;
  5.      Giving first-time Designers/Managers the confidence boost they need to take on those positions;

and this is something I, and the rest of committee, have tried to do this past year! We also ensure the fair appointment of crews and oversee the smooth running of the numerous shows we work on. I also always try to drop in on Load Ins for the shows I am not on crew for (of which there are quite a few this year surprisingly), just to see how everyone is doing and help keep morale up as we all know Load Ins are loooooong.

“We’ve paved the way for three new collaborations, one of which included working down in the new Pyramid Theatre with Theatre Group!”

We have achieved quite a few things as a committee this year. We brought in a new constitution, elected our first ever First Year Rep, reviewed and updated the show contract, implemented a new policy for radio microphone and equipment use and hire, are in the process of updating guidance packs for Designers and Managers, and most excitingly, paved the way for three new collaborations, one of which included working down in the new Pyramid Theatre with Theatre Group! We’ve also had much bants running the society, and have come away from it having many a nickname. My first nickname as President was El Prez (lol). Over Christmas, I was Erinna the Elf (courtesy of Sazza). At the moment, my nickname on our group chat is the chain emoji (don’t ask why).

“Don’t be afraid to ask for help and/or support, be it from LUU staff, the Performance and Music Rep, Activities Officer, or from your fellow committee members”

My advice for the next President, and for the next committee in general, is 1) to not be afraid to ask for help and/or support, be it from LUU staff, the Performance and Music Rep, Activities Officer, or from your fellow committee members; and 2) to not be afraid to make changes; and 3) enjoy every second of it, even the hard parts.

“It has definitely developed my confidence and many of my transferrable skills”

It’s been such a pleasure running our beloved Backstage for the past 12 months, and it has definitely developed my confidence and many of my transferrable skills (that employers look for!)! If you’re unsure of whether to run for committee, I strongly encourage you to Just Do It (*bad dum tss*)!! You have nothing to lose, and if you get elected, I promise your year will be far from dull. As always, feel free to drop me a message on Facebook or email me (president@luubackstage.com) if you have any questions or want more insight into the role!

 

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