Emma Wilson, Creative Engagement Manager with Cahoots NI.

 21 November 2018

Emma Wilson started off as a Northern Ireland Creative Employment Programme apprentice with Cahoots NI, but was soon offered a full time role as the Creative Engagement Manager. She won the Northern Ireland Apprentice of the Year Award 2017.

Emma was offered a full time role as a result of her apprenticeship
Emma was offered a full time role as a result of her apprenticeship

Enter your nomination now for the Creative & Cultural Skills Awards 2019.

What’s your job?

I’m the Creative Engagement Manager with Cahoots NI, a specialist children’s theatre company based in Belfast. We tour productions all over Northern Ireland and internationally. 

I look after all the marketing, website, social media, graphic design, tour booking and more. I’m involved with everything that reaches out to the public.

How did you get there?

I joined Cahoots NI a year and a half ago through the Northern Ireland Creative Employment Programme (NI CEP) as an apprentice, but my job has grown into a full-time post. I saw the ad on Facebook which is fitting given that social media is now a big part of my job!

Do you have a typical working day?

My days can be weird and wonderful and I love it. I always try to come in early before everyone else, look through social media, see what’s trending and then schedule posts for throughout the day.

I spent an entire day hunting for a cowboy hat big enough to conceal a magic trick once

If we are booking a tour, I could be on the phone all day talking to venues – or the next day I could be out searching for the most unusual of props. I spent an entire day hunting for a cowboy hat big enough to conceal a magic trick once – it had to be an exact size but I found it.

What qualifications do you have?

I have a degree in English and Drama and through the NI CEP programme, which is supported by the Arts Council of NI. I’m also working towards a qualification in Business Administration which is delivered by Creative & Cultural Skills and Belfast Met College. I was lucky enough to be named Apprentice of the Year last December in the Northern Ireland Creative & Cultural Skills awards.

What other skills do you need in your role?

You definitely need to be able to multi-task! It’s also important to be a source of support for the people we work with and to be able to quickly solve any problems that may come up.

It’s also important to be a source of support for the people we work with and to be able to quickly solve any problems that may come up.

What’s the best thing about your job?

I’ve been given so many amazing opportunities! I got to travel to Birmingham while we were auditioning dancers for our new show, ‘Penguins’. In January I’m going to Philadelphia for a major theatre conference. I’m meeting interesting people and there are so many opportunities for personal and professional development.

And the worst?

I like it when plans are confirmed and don’t change but sometimes that’s not the nature of this job!

What do you think are the greatest challenges/pressures of the job?

Time management. Most days I have to juggle immediate deadlines with things that need done for shows that might be happening in 2019.

What did you want to be when you were at school?

While I’m not on stage any more, these experiences definitely shaped my confidence, creativity and communications skills as an adult.

I always loved drama and wanted to be on the stage! I lived in the drama department at school and then went to a stage school on the weekends. While I’m not on stage any more, these experiences definitely shaped my confidence, creativity and communications skills as an adult.

What advice would you give someone considering a career in your profession?

With the creative industries it’s important to keep track of what’s going on and that’s easy to find out online. I also think it’s good to get as much experience as possible – even as a volunteer – and also to network.

What’s the most common question people ask when they find out what you do?

“Can my child be in your show?” – many people confuse professional children’s theatre with drama school.

How do you like to relax outside work?

By going to see more theatre! I’ll love all styles but musicals are my favourite.

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