Outreach and Participation Assistant

Magdalen College School

Application Pack for Outreach and Participation Assistant


  • About Magdalen College School and Oxford Playhouse
  • The Role
  • Application Process
  • Application Form
  • Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form

About Magdalen College School and Oxford Playhouse

Magdalen College School, Oxford and Oxford Playhouse have collaborated for six years in offering a successful Residency programme for early-career directors and producers. Following its success, the programme has recently been extended with the addition of a technician and an outreach and participation assistant. In creating the role, our aim is to extend the educational opportunities available to local communities in connection with our cultural work. We are looking for a talented, ambitious individual, who is keen to gain experience of education, participation and audience development work in the context of a professional theatre and a school which co-ordinates a major outreach programme, at whose heart is a community focused Arts Festival. The post-holder will have the opportunity to develop and apply their learning through a variety of Playhouse, school and Festival projects. They will be employed by the school, with extensive opportunities for developing professional skills and experience, through training, mentoring and delivery at Oxford Playhouse.

Magdalen College School, founded in 1480 by William of Waynflete, is one of the country’s leading independent day schools. Situated in an enviable location at the heart of Oxford beside the river Cherwell, the school has an excellent reputation for academic, sporting and artistic success, and for its outreach work in the local community. Magdalen College School educates boys from 7-18, and girls as well as boys in the Sixth Form. Further details can be found at www.mcsoxford.org and www.artsfestivaloxford.org.

The arts thrive at the school, and drama not least. In expanding all aspects of its extra-curricular provision over the past seven years, the school has increasingly involved professional experts. MCS’s inaugural performance at Oxford Playhouse took place in July 2012. This was an adaptation of Aeneid: The Journey by RSC Associate Artist Joanne Pearce Noble, who has continued her close collaboration with Drama at MCS. This production met with great critical acclaim, and was followed by the world premiere of an adaptation of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies in 2013, a telling of Tennyson’s Idylls of the King in 2014, a new adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland in 2015, and a new production of Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows in 2016. One production per year now transfers to the Edinburgh Fringe. The success of the 2011 Edinburgh production, Pinter’s Celebration, was sufficient to persuade the playwright’s widow, Lady Antonia Fraser, to speak about her former husband at the school in 2012. Other regular productions include a main school play (most recently All’s Well that Ends Well, Amadeus and the Doll’s House), an annual Greek play (most recently Hippolytus, The Bacchae and Ajax) and a school musical (recently The Bluestocking – a new piece written for the school – and 42nd Street). There is a diversity of other productions, for pupils of all age groups, including plenty of opportunities for pupils to help with the technical aspects of theatre. Since September 2011, a Drama Academy has taken place on Saturdays.

The school has an extensive outreach programme encompassing all aspects of school life from academic support, mentoring and extension, to sport, careers, community support and the arts. All pupils in the Lower Sixth take part in the school’s community service scheme, which sees pupils spend their Tuesday afternoon in a school or community placement which may involve producing artwork for a hospital, entertaining care home residents with a concert, supporting primary and secondary school pupils with numeracy or literacy, running a film, chess or language club, or helping in a care home. Year group activities, for example assisting with a primary school’s literacy Festival, involve pupils lower down the school. There are additionally a multitude of further ways in which staff and pupils contribute to the wider community both in Oxford and further afield.

The school’s Arts Festival, which takes place in June-July each year, forms a particular focus for its partnership work.

The Festival is committed to fostering creative and cultural opportunities within the wider community, and in 2016, Festival projects involved over 2800 children from 45 Oxfordshire schools, as well as a range of community arts groups. Support from Arts Council England, the city and county councils, and Oxford University, has helped us extend this aspect of our work. Recent Festival community projects with an arts focus have included the Oxfordshire Youth Poetry Slam 2015, a collaboration with acclaimed spoken word organisation Hammer and Tongue which saw hundreds of secondary school pupils involved in workshops ahead of the Slam final; workshops for primary school children in connection with the 2016 production of The Wind in the Willows; collaborations with The Oxford Academy in 2014 and 2015 to create devised pieces of theatre under the direction of Oxford Playhouse Associate Artist Ben Park; a community art project displayed during the Festival; Ahoy! For the Mary Rose which saw hundreds of primary school pupils perform in Oxford’s Town Hall; storytelling workshops with Crisis Skylight and Restore which fed into Direct Roots: A Theatre-makers’ Symposium, a day of workshops designed to support early-career professionals in making their way in the world of theatre; poetry workshops and a poetry competition, whose finalists performed in the Festival’s Poetry Live event alongside Roger McGough; a Writers’ Course for Gifted primary school children; and a photography engagement project running alongside a major new commission displayed in central Oxford.

In 2016, the Festival involved over 100 events in 20 locations, and overall Festival visitor numbers exceeded 20,000.

Oxford Playhouse: A Playhouse for Everyone is a flagship presenting and producing theatre in the South East. Audience attendance for the high quality, wide ranging programme is above the national average. The theatre is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation, and has a good relationship with its stakeholders, including The University of Oxford and Oxford City Council.

Oxford Playhouse and its Burton Taylor Studio present and produce a wide range of live performance and participatory activities. It has recently expanded its producing work and in summer 2016 re-opened the refurbished auditorium with the premier of Peter Pan in Scarlet, a co-production with New Vic, Stoke-on-Trent. The Playhouse has an outstanding record of success as a receiving house for productions with a breadth of appeal to audiences, artists and touring companies alike. It offers a broad programme of the highest quality work which includes the best of British and international drama, family shows, contemporary dance and music, student and amateur shows, circus, comedy, lectures and poetry. Oxford Playhouse manages the Burton Taylor Studio for the University of Oxford. This flexible 50 seat venue is used for student productions during the university terms. For the other six months of the year Oxford Playhouse presents a strong programme of small scale touring shows including work for families, new writing, experimental performance and work by local artists.

As well as supporting a diverse range of visiting companies at the Playhouse and Studio, the Playhouse participation programme provides learning opportunities in connection with our own productions for schools, and holiday workshops for all ages alongside its in-house activities: the 12|16 young company devise their own shows while the 17|25 young company work towards an annual main stage production (previous productions have included The Odyssey, 2015, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, 2016), and Young Playmaker equips young writers with the skills needed to write a short play; Spotlight a monthly discussion group for over 50s; Hey Diddle Diddle a singing workshop for pre-school children and parents; Adult Skills Sessions provide training in different theatre disciplines and the Playhouse Playmaker programme mentors a small group of emerging playwrights. The theatre also offers work experience placements for 14 to 19 year olds and for 18+ three-week work placements in the Burton Taylor Studio.

The Role: Outreach and Participation Assistant

Job Title: Outreach and Participation Assistant

Based at:  Magdalen College School

Reports to:  Anne Cotton, Deputy Head (Education Development)Louise Chantal, CEO, Oxford Playhouse

Line Manager: Anne Cotton, Deputy Head (Education Development) Mezze Eade, Participation Director, Oxford Playhouse

Terms: The post will be for one year in the first instance, but may be extended thereafter by mutual agreement.

Start date:  9th January 2017

Salary: £20,000 pa (full time)

Probationary Period: Six months

Holiday: 30 days paid holiday each year, plus normal UK public holidays, reflects the occasional anti-social hours necessarily required in arts work. Holidays may only be taken during the school's published holiday dates and by prior consent of his/her line manager.

Main Tasks and Responsibilities:

Magdalen College School, Oxford and Oxford Playhouse have created this opportunity to enable a talented, ambitious individual to gain experience of education, participation and audience development work in the context of a professional theatre, a school, and a community-focused Arts Festival. The post-holder will have the opportunity to develop and apply their learning through a variety of Playhouse, school and Festival projects.

It is expected that the Outreach and Participation Assistant will spend in the region of 60% of their time working on MCS/Festival projects, and 40% of their time working on Oxford Playhouse projects.

The precise nature of the role will be shaped to fit the strengths of the candidate appointed, but the role is practical and ‘hands-on’ and likely to include the following:

  • Supporting the delivery of established projects
  • Helping to design and plan effective outreach and participation projects within agreed objectives
  • Building links with schools and community groups
  • Planning and delivering workshops
  • Working with internal and external parties as required to deliver projects to a high standard
  • Overseeing logistical requirements for projects
  • Writing planning documents and evaluative reports as required
  • Maintaining detailed and systematic records
  • Working with other organisations to develop outreach provision in the locality

The postholder will usually spend 3 days a week working at Magdalen College School and 2 days a week working at Oxford Playhouse.

For the duration of the residency the post holder will be expected to work within the policies and procedures of both organisations, and ensure safe, legal, and supportive working practices are maintained.

MCS & Oxford Playhouse Outreach and Participation Assistant Application Pack 2016

They will be expected to undertake any other duties reasonably requested or required to fulfil the objectives of the role.

Skills and Experience

  • Proven previous outreach or relevant project management experience.
  • Serious interest in and understanding of the current cultural, and especially theatre, landscape.
  • Previous experience of working with young people and / or community groups in participatory arts
  • Excellent communication skills and ability to build positive working relationships
  • Ability to keep calm under pressure and to prioritise the experience of project participants
  • Organised and efficient, able to prioritise
  • Proactive and able to take initiative

Personal Attributes

  • Passionate about arts outreach and participation work, and about offering arts opportunities to all
  • A genuine desire to further develop their project management skills
  • A desire to complete tasks to the highest standard
  • Proactive, hard-working individual
  • Naturally collaborative, with enthusiasm and an ambition to succeed
  • A team player who is sensitive to colleagues’ pressures and instinctively supportive
  • Ability to work long, sometimes unsociable hours

Application Process: Outreach and Participation Assistant

The application form is an important part of the selection process. To ensure fairness to all applicants, any decision to shortlist you for interview will be based solely on the information you supply on your application form. Ensure you read the job description and person specification before you start to complete the form. It is important you give as much information as relevant regarding why you wish to apply and what makes you a suitable applicant.

You can download a version of the application form from www.oxfordplayhouse.com or contact Jane Hornsby on recruitment@oxfordplayhouse.com or 01865 305318. Please complete the application form in black ink/type. If you have any difficulty completing this form please do let us know and we will arrange an alternative means of application with you.

Applications in the form of CVs will not be considered: please do not attach CVs, references or educational certificates to your application form.

If you need to attach a continuation sheet, please mark your name clearly at the top of the sheet. Please limit continuation sheets to one side of A4.

We welcome applications from all sections of the community – diversity is crucial to our success.

Oxford Playhouse and Magdalen College School are committed to the safeguarding of children and young people, and the successful candidate will be required to undergo statutory safeguarding checks before the commencement of his/her employment.

Due to the nature of this post:

  • 1) Self-Disclosure: all applicants will be required to complete a self-disclosure statement.
  • 2) Full DBS enhanced disclosure will be required in the event of an individual being offered the position: the candidate will be required to produce necessary documentation for the processing of a DBS check, details of which will be provided if we invite you to interview.

Completed applications should be emailed to recruitment@oxfordplayhouse.com or sent in an envelope marked in the top left corner “MCS & OP Outreach and Participation Assistant” together with the equal opportunities monitoring form, to Laura Smith, Executive Assistant, Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont Street, Oxford, OX1 2LW.

Applications should arrive no later than 12 noon, Wednesday 2nd November.

Only short listed candidates will be notified of interview which will be held on Wednesday 16th November.

If you do not hear from us, (usually within 7 working days of the closing date), unfortunately, on this occasion you have been unsuccessful.

Click here to download an Information Pack