Media career at The Globe

 8 February 2011

Francesca Maguire is Press and PR Manager for Shakespeare’s Globe. She is responsible for the management, design and implementation of the media and PR campaigns.

Francesca Maguire is Press and PR Manager for Shakespeare’s Globe.
Francesca Maguire is Press and PR Manager for Shakespeare’s Globe.

This includes the summer theatre season, a year-round programme of education, exhibition and tour, on-site facilities (shop, bar and brasserie), corporate fundraising and any ad-hoc events.

The press office also processes general media enquiries, handles filming and photography requests, manages image requests and communicates media coverage to the rest of the organisation.

The working day of a press and PR manager

“Every day, I read the papers – scan for coverage, monitor current affairs and topics of interest.

“During the theatre season, my job could be anything:

  • making contact with journalists to secure coverage
  • encouraging critics to attend press nights
  • organising and overseeing photocalls with newspaper photographers
  • sending images to newspapers
  • facilitating interviews with directors and cast.

“Other days might be admin focused:

  • planning campaigns
  • researching new contacts
  • writing press releases
  • creating new distribution lists
  • managing press office systems (i.e. cuttings service, media contacts database)
  • updating budgets
  • line-management duties
  • organising staff training
  • updating policy documents
  • hosting visiting film crews
  • commissioning new photography.

“Every day is different and tends to involve a mix of the above.”

Career journey into cultural heritage

“Be persistent. It’s a very popular industry and the entry-level jobs will have a lot of competition. Chances are you’re not going to get the first job you apply for.”

“I went to Lancaster University and read Theatre Studies. Although I loved the subject, I had no idea how it might translate into a career. Most of us on the course assumed that a career in theatre meant acting, directing or producing.

"Indeed, a lot of graduates went on to do this kind or work. It didn’t initially occur to me that the arts industry needs strong administration teams as well, which offers an equally satisfying career option.

“After a couple of administration jobs, I spent two years at the Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse theatres, as press and media officer. After that, I was press manager at Rambert Dance Company, where I spent three years altogether.

“The administration work experience straight after university helped me to familiarise myself with the working environment, and gave me some basic office experience. Although I wasn’t particularly interested in the companies for their long-term career opportunities, they provided a useful foundation for the jobs ahead.

“Being offered the job at Shakespeare’s Globe was my proudest achievement. It was quite a step up from my previous role. I worked very hard to get through the interviews and convince the panel that I was capable.

“The job involved more responsibility, higher profile and more staff to manage. It’s been tough, but I’m very proud of myself for getting this far.”

Professional development: skills and mentors

“I am currently studying for a diploma in Public Relations at London Metropolitan University. It’s proving to be extremely useful and will dramatically change the way I work in future.

“I also take numerous one-day courses on line-management, media relations, copy-writing, networking sessions and leadership.

“Amanda Jones, who I worked with at Rambert Dance Company, has been my mentor. Her background included Head of Press at the Barbican and the Royal Opera House. She is very experienced in her field and provided valuable advice on how to work with the media. She had high expectations, but was supportive in helping me achieve goals. I still call on Amanda if I find myself with a situation that I’m not totally sure how to handle, and need to talk it through with somebody.

“Susan Coffer is another mentor. She was my line manager and Director of Marketing at Rambert Dance Company. Hard working, passionate and really cared for her team. Susan had high standards of work, and was very honest with me: helping me address my setbacks, as well as congratulating my successes. She helped to prepare me for the interview process at Shakespeare’s Globe and encouraged me to think big and believe in myself.”

Advice for getting into cultural heritage

“Being offered the job at Shakespeare’s Globe was my proudest achievement."

“Be persistent. It’s a very popular industry and the entry-level jobs (assistants, administrators etc) will have a lot of competition, so chances are you’re not going to get the first job you apply for.

“Before I got my first job in the arts I was out of full-time employment for three months. It was quite depressing and defeating at times – having to juggle temporary work with numerous job applications, but I’m so glad I stuck with it. It means that I’ve been able to focus on a career that stimulates me – intellectually and creatively.

“To work at Shakespeare’s Globe, you would need the following skills and qualities:

  • Good communication skills
    You need to be able to write well (particularly for press releases) and communicate verbally with a diverse range of people (actors, directors, the media, internal staff, senior management, photographers etc).
  • Enthusiasm and drive is essential
    The media are not always responsive to ideas and suggestions. You’ll often have to approach far more people than the final coverage suggests. This job requires creative thinking and persistence in order to deliver results.
  • Patience and flexibility
    You need to work with many different people who often have different demands and expectations. The press office also has to be able to react to sudden situations with a calm and logical approach.

“If you can, try to be selective about your career path. Move to jobs that stretch your skills and knowledge so that you’re constantly improving, rather than just moving ‘sideways’ from one similar job to another. Also, choose the organisation carefully – it’ll look great on your CV if you can demonstrate an impressive path through your career."

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