An Internship at the Mercury Theatre



Melissa Tang (BSC Psychology)

After graduation I didn’t have any professional work experience which made it hard to find a job. Like a lot of students I worked part-time throughout my degree, but not in a role that could have given me the experience I needed to kick start my career after Essex.

I quickly realised that I needed graduate level work experience before I could secure a permanent position and avoid the classic graduate catch 22 where you need a job to get experience, but you can’t find a job because you have no experience. I spoke to friends who had taken internships before securing permanent positions and an internship seemed like a great stepping stone. I didn’t need experience to secure one, as long as I was enthusiastic and willing to learn and I wasn’t expected to perform straight away, allowing me to focus on my professional development.

With a career in HR in mind I chose an internship with the Mercury Theatre to help me develop transferable skills. My manager was fantastic and when I told her I wanted a career in HR, she did her best to give me as many HR related duties as possible! I gained all the skills and work experience that I was hoping for.

I also developed a number of unexpected skills: my telephone manner has improved, I have gained negotiation and sales skills, improved my ability to work under pressure, gained more confidence in myself and was able to work effectively both on my own and within a team.

Proving to myself that I was able to work well independently was particularly satisfying as I did not have a lot of confidence prior to my internship! There were definitely challenges but taking an internship was definitely the stepping stone I needed to start building a successful career. I gained new skills and experience and realised that despite not having any knowledge about the theatre industry, I could adapt and learn quickly in a lively and great work environment.

The Mercury has a great relationship with the University of Essex, offering internships to their students and graduates. For more information please visit

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