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Volunteer success stories: Marketing experience

Rafia Hussain and Fay Hough - former Marketing Volunteers at Oldham Coliseum Theatre

It can be very difficult sometimes to make your first step on the career ladder. It’s a story we all know – you need experience to get a job, but you need a way of getting that experience.

Alongside our army of amazing Customer Experience Volunteers, the Coliseum welcomes eager volunteers and placements into our Marketing and Communications Department to gain that vital experience, learn from our team, have fun and get ahead.  In the run up to Volunteer Week (1 – 7 June: watch this space on our celebrations), we asked our current volunteer, Rafia Hussain, and former volunteer, Fay Hough, to write about their experiences at the Coliseum and how it helped them land their dream jobs.


Rafia is about to start a new job at Derby Theatre:

Hello, I’m Rafia. I’ve been volunteering in the Marketing Department for the past four months.

My journey into the arts has been an unconventional one; I actually studied Science at university and trained as a Science Teacher, although I’d always had an interest in the arts, before deciding to make a career change. I then worked as the Festival Assistant working for Rochdale Literature and Ideas Festival, and was inspired to continue working in the arts. While looking for a new position I’ve been volunteering at Oldham Coliseum Theatre in the Marketing Department, and working at Rochdale’s Touchstones Museum to expand my experiences and build up my CV.

During my time with the Coliseum, I’ve been involved in various aspects of marketing; from writing direct mail letters and stuffing envelopes for mail outs to creating social media posts and blogging! Lately I’ve been supporting the Marketing team for the Alchemy Festival; all of this experience has helped me understand another aspect of theatre.  Sue, the Coliseum’s Head of Marketing and Communications, has been really helpful – she read some of my job applications and gave me invaluable feedback. In fact, she passed on the information about the job opportunity that I’m about to take up – I’ll be starting my new job as Associate Producer for Derby Theatre very soon. I’m really excited for the next chapter of my career and appreciate the help I’ve had from everyone at the Coliseum to get there!


Fay now works as a Communications Assistant:

I spent a year with the Coliseum as a volunteer and it was a great year. I moved around a bit, starting in the Marketing and Communications department, then moving to work alongside the stage management and production teams, until realising I was much better sat at a desk than making props, so I then went back to Marketing. It was at the Coliseum where I realised what I was good at and what direction I should take in terms of my career. The fact that the Coliseum allowed me to discover this, while supporting and encouraging me, is something I’ll always be grateful for.

The experience I gained has been invaluable and meant that when I finally got my first ‘grown up job’ I was fully prepared for what was in store. The tasks varied from writing direct mail to stuffing envelopes (a very welcome task at 3pm on a Friday afternoon!), and when I started to look at job specifications for roles in Marketing and Communications for the first time I thought: “hey, I’ve done that and that and that”. Eventually, after applying for various positions, the experience I gained paid off, and I am now coming up to my first year as a Communications Assistant– a role I love.

I’m so thankful for my time spent at the Coliseum – I learnt so many valuable skills, met some seriously lovely people and generally just had a great time. I would recommend volunteering with them to anyone.”

If you want to learn more about volunteering with the Coliseum Marketing and Communications department (you must be 18+ to be eligible), please contact Head of Marketing and Communications, Sue Fletcher via email with Volunteer in the subject box to


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