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A black and white image of The Globe Theatre in London, an Elizabethan building with an iconic circular structure, taken from the outside. ;

Alumni Voices: 'I loved the idea of studying writers in the heart of the city they were often living in and writing about'

Jessie Acton (English Language & Literature, 2014; MA Shakespeare & Early Modern Theatre Culture, 2017) left her home in York to study at King’s. Now the Senior Marketing Manager at Shakespeare’s Globe, she tells us about her journey from student to one of the most famous stages in the world…

A brunette woman wearing a plain shirt and jeans sets up a light in a theate.

Jessie preparing to film a promotional film at the Globe

Why did you study your undergraduate degree at King’s?

The location was a draw. I loved the idea of studying writers in the heart of the city that they were often living in and writing about – William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Virginia Woolf, Sam Selvon. The variety and scope of the course was also a selling point.

What were your favourite memories at King’s?

Eating curly fries overlooking the River Thames, meeting people who’ve stayed friends for life, bonding over a mutual dislike of Geoffrey Chaucer (sorry) and a love of Renaissance literature, exploring London’s history… There were also the fantastic student discounts that London theatres offer.

You graduated in 2014. Was working in theatre always your goal?

I realised I wanted to work in theatre after graduating when I briefly worked as a stage manager in York. I needed more experience, so I moved back to London to work Front of House at Sadler’s Wells and begin the MA at the Globe in 2016.

A brunette woman wearing a red lanyard, black top and brown apron, performs crafts.

Studying at King’s helped Jessie land a big role at the Globe

What was the appeal of the MA at King’s?

The key draw was the fact that the course was delivered in partnership with Shakespeare’s Globe, a working theatre and one of my favourite places! I already knew several of the lecturers and I felt at home at King’s. It was an obvious choice for me.

On graduation in 2017, more arts jobs followed. What were your favourites?

I worked as Marketing Manager for the amazing Greenwich and Docklands International Festival. This was busy and it offered a very steep learning curve. I also loved working with Entelechy Arts on their Age Against the Machine Festival.

In 2021, you became the Marketing Manager at Shakespeare’s Globe…

Having spent a great (but hard-working) year on the MA programme, I knew the Globe was a fun and interesting place to be. I was also at a point in my career where I wanted to move into a more stable role within a bigger team. When the role came up, it was a no-brainer for me to apply.

Did the fact you’d studied at King’s help you in the interview process?

The focus was on marketing skills, which I’d honed since graduating. But it definitely didn’t hurt that I could showcase my passion and knowledge of early modern theatre practice, as well as skills such as research, time management and critical thinking.

You’re now the Senior Marketing Manager at the Globe. Can you tell us about the role?

My role is so varied and I get to collaborate with different teams across the Globe. I work on planning and delivering creative marketing campaigns across all the main shows; I collaborate with higher education and research; I deliver email, paid media, content production and data analysis. I do all of this within an organisation that has a huge output and an iconic reputation.

A brunette woman wearing a black outfit sits in a golden throne, pointing up at the air.

'Getting exclusive hang-out time in the Globe’ is a key perk of the job for Jessie

What are the highlights of the job?

I have a lot of creative freedom and I find it inspiring to work with so many other brilliantly creative people. Highlights have to be going into the rehearsal rooms, talking to creatives, filming and producing trailers, and finding new and fun ways to reach our diverse and ever-growing audiences. And getting exclusive hang-out time in the beautiful and unique theatre spaces. The candlelit Sam Wanamaker Playhouse is stunning.

What are your key career learnings so far?

  • Take opportunities when they come
  • Do something you believe in
  • See every job as a learning opportunity
  • Push yourself to grow and develop new skills
  • Have a goal or next step in mind – even if it’s just the next few months

What advice would you give to other King’s graduates wanting to work in the arts?

I found working in lots of smaller organisations incredibly valuable. They’re so committed to a cause, and you’ll have opportunities to learn and grow so quickly. Don’t be afraid of moving around to get promoted, either. But have patience – the right role will come at the right time. Have fun, too! It’s such a joyful, interesting and inspiring industry to work in, so enjoy it and learn from those around you.

Finally, what’s your favourite Shakespeare play and why?

I don’t think I can choose! But I’ve recently been working on Othello which I’ve loved. It’s such a nuanced and deeply human play, especially for its time.

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