Old Wac Stories: A day in the life of…Eleanor Herbert

Old Wac Eleanor tells us about her experience as a Director’s Assistant in Düsseldorf, an internship that forms part of her year abroad from the University of Bristol, where she studies Theatre and German.

What is your typical day like?

My work routine and tasks can differ from day to day and depend heavily on how far along in the rehearsal process we are. Typically, I always have to arrive at the rehearsal stage (a scaled down replica of the main stage) before the actors to prepare and set up. I have to be on hand to make sure all the actors and creative team have everything they need to conduct the rehearsals. During rehearsals I then have to assist the creative team, keeping the master script up to date with any changes, stage directions and technical cues.

At the moment we are in the very early stages of ‘Henry VI & Margaretha di Napoli’ (By William Shakespeare, translated by Tom Lanoye), so typical rehearsals at the moment consist of a lot of character exploration as well as some fight training!”

What do you love most about the role?

I feel extremely lucky to be surrounded by such talented, creative people. Going from studying the likes of Robert Wilson in University essays to working alongside him was surreal. It is also amazing to see the plays from their extremely early stages / first read through to seeing the audience fill up for the first premiere and to receive standing ovations.”

What is the most unusual thing about the role?

When actors are absent for the rehearsals we can be called in to stand in their place. In my first week in Dusseldorf – when I was still struggling to grasp the language – I was thrown on stage alongside professionals in the final dance number to pose as the ‘Jackal’ from the Jungle Book.”

What has been your proudest achievement?

Moving away from England and University life definitely hasn’t been easy but it has been really fulfilling to see how far my language skill and confidence has improved already.”

What advice would you give to someone thinking about a similar path?

“Try and get as much experience as you can and if you can’t seem to find any, create your own work!”