Helping out at BBC Radio 4’s Character Invasion event was really enjoyable and a pleasure.
For one day only, Radio 4 celebrated everything character. On Saturday March 29, seven UK BBC sites which make radio drama, held events exploring how renowned fictional characters were written, created and brought to life.
I volunteered as a steward to help with the coordination of the event in Salford, which was taken over by iconic characters from TV, radio and literature. There was also excitement taking place in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow and London.
I had never seen so many children and families across MediaCityUK. There were several interactive activities for them to enjoy including preview screenings, meet the cast question and answer sessions, writing and acting master classes and the opportunity to meet the people behind some of the BBC’s most successful programmes.
Actors dispersed across the Lowry Outlet mall including Alice in Wonderland, Dorothy, The Madhatter, Sherlock, Dracula and Bo Peep. Once the actors grabbed the attention of youngsters and their families, it was my job to tell them about Character Invasion and encourage families to come along.
The highlight of the day was helping out with the MI High Q&A sessions. I placed stickers on people’s tickets, gave out standby stickers to those who had not booked a ticket beforehand, and directed people to the MI High screenings. I even got the chance to have a sneak peek at the latest episode!
The interaction between the actors, writers and children was fantastic, and the cast gave the youngsters great advice on how to become an actor or a writer in the future. This made me inspired to become an actress for a CBBC programme! Other CBBC screenings that took place throughout the day included Wolfblood and The Dumping Ground.
I also had the chance to observe radio acting and sound effects workshops, watch families record scenes from radio plays and try out being a sound engineer by playing out ambient sound effects.
Helping in the open centre was enjoyable too. Here, I ticketed how many people came into the BBC building, gave out brochures, directed people to the appropriate activities and answered questions about Character Invasion.
The event even enabled me to have my photograph taken with loveable characters within magical settings via the magic of green screen!
At the end of the day, I had the opportunity to attend the prize giving of the Alfred Bradley Bursary Award, which aims to encourage new radio drama writing in the north of England.
The winner, Furquan Akhatar, won the award for his drama ‘The Spoken Word’ and received a £5,000 bursary and a Radio 4 drama commission. This inspired me to write my own radio dramas and gave me an insight into how exciting and engaging they can be.
I took volunteering for Character Invasion as an opportunity to network with BBC writers and producers, make new friendships and see what the BBC do to engage audiences. It was a day extremely useful for my ambition to work in TV and radio, and was interactive and fun!