Philippa Vandome

What is your favourite memory of Malvern College?

I had a lot of highlights during my time at Malvern but one of my favourites was playing Helena in the senior school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The production had a Glastonbury theme and I have a vivid memory of wearing a neon pink tutu, fairy wings and a pink stetson while looking up at Hermia in a rain poncho and wellies. It definitely helps having some anecdotes like this to talk about when people at work ask me if I have acted in any Shakespeare.

What attracted you to your particular career and what do you enjoy most about it?

I have the opportunity to work with original Shakespeare documents, Early Printed books and RSC performance materials on a day to day basis and that was so exciting to me when I first started at the Birthplace Trust. It is still a big draw for me to work with this world-class collection but more than that, what drives me in my role is working with a wide range of people and getting the opportunity to introduce them to our collections. The reaction of our visiting students to seeing some of our collections for the first time never gets old!

What part did Malvern College play in giving you the necessary skills for your chosen path?

There were many opportunities at Malvern that helped me gain confidence in public speaking and helping others. My experiences from participating in the inter-house reading competition, presenting in house chapels to delivering announcements in the boarding house taught me how to present and respond to audiences. I was fortunate to be given a Drama Scholarship when I started at the college, which gave me many opportunities to be part of theatre productions on and off the stage and my time as Senior Chapel prefect definitely taught me a lot about leadership and teamwork. I now use these skills to give talks and presentations to groups from around the world on Shakespeare and our collections.

What are your ambitions?

I hope to continue working in the Arts and Heritage, specifically working on outreach projects. I want to continue to engage with the public and bring the arts to life through talks, workshops and community projects. My ambition is to move into a project management role so that I take the lead on creating new ideas on how to reach more people who might otherwise not get the opportunity to see or participate in the arts and heritage sites.

What advice would you give to current pupils contemplating working in your field?

The Heritage sector has a very diverse range of roles, from visitor experience to education. The best way to find out about different roles and to get ahead with some experience is to volunteer. Lots of museums and heritage sites offer volunteering programmes and work experience placements and they advertise these on their websites, but you can also contact people directly to see if there is anything you can volunteer to do. My first role at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust was as a volunteer with the Primary Education department helping with school trips to the historic properties, which I really enjoyed and it gave me an opportunity to ask about different careers. If you want to work with collections (Archives, Libraries and Museums) it is important to find out which roles you would be interested in pursuing and to find out if specialised post graduate training is required.

What advice would you give to current pupils about making the most of their time at the school?

Enjoy the range of activities that the school offers and try out different things. Having interests like music or sports and having the confidence to try things out will give you a range of clubs and societies that you can join at university or when you're working, which is a great way of finding new people to socialise with who share your interests and to get time to do the things you enjoy.

Value the friends that you make at school because they stick with you. It is so nice that I now have life-long friends to meet up with and that I can still get in touch with from all over the world.

Photo credit: William Mulryne.