​Interview with Jessica Deans

Editorial intern for Brighton Fringe Jessy Deans talks to Voice about her experience, her future aspirations, and offers advice to readers.

​Interview with Jessica Deans

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

My Name is Jessy, I graduated from the University of Sussex last summer and am now living in Brighton interning at Brighton Fringe!

Why did you decide to take on an internship at Brighton Fringe?

I went straight from finishing college into University and whilst a lot of my friends decided to do a Masters in Brighton, I wanted to stay in the city but I felt like I needed a break from education! I had been looking into some of the internships that are funded by the university but having studied English and Drama it's no real surprise that there were very few that offered something that excited me. Throughout University I have been involved with the sketch comedy group 'Kids with Beards', it originally emerged through a society but has since become something separate. We have performed at Edinburgh Fringe for the past three years and I have been completely fallen in love with the festival and everything involved with creating and taking a show up there. Brighton Fringe always happened during the crucial exam and deadline period at University so I had never been able to go to as many shows and events as I would have liked. With an essay-free year ahead of me I was so excited when I saw an ad for an internship at Brighton Fringe as it offered an opportunity for me to work in the arts but also put my English degree to use.

What does a typical day look like to you?

My role as editorial intern means I am part of the press office. Whilst there are certain ongoing tasks I have been given such as organising the awards and managing festival photographers, everyday offers something different. I help to organise as much of the best media coverage we can get, researching all the shows at the fringe and also the different media outlets. We then think about what stories there are and which newspaper or magazine might want to do a certain feature. Brighton Fringe has many media partnerships and supporters and I help in making the editorial aspects of these partnerships work. This includes communicating with different media partners, helping to organise certain features and writing blogs.

What did you do before you took on the internship?

I had two jobs working at a shop and a pub in the lanes, both very fun and I loved working there but had a craving to do something more creative.

What do you want to do in the future?

I'm still unsure! Working at Brighton Fringe has been a real eye-opener and I could definitely see myself working in PR. It would also be amazing to continue working in the arts and for festivals in particular, it's been amazing to see all the work that goes into putting on such a big event. I would also be lying if I didn't say I still love acting and want to continue doing comedy!

What has been the most exciting part of working with Brighton Fringe?

I have got very excited just seeing all the shows that are coming to Brighton! It's very different skimming through a brochure as you might usually do at a festival to doing very thorough reads and researching different acts. One of the really great things about Brighton Fringe is all the help and encouragement the festival gives to its participants. There are weekly Fringe academy workshops and also lots of bursaries given out to participants to help them partake in the festival, one of which my sketch group won, meaning we will be performing this year's Brighton Fringe! I know first-hand how beneficial that kind of support can be. Being a performer myself means I know the kind of monetary strains and stress that comes with putting on a show and I can't wait until May to see all of the hard work in full colour.

Conversely, what has been the most challenging?

Previous to this job I had only worked behind a bar and in a shop so it was quite scary to be walking into a completely new environment. Being fresh out of university I am used to working to deadlines but going from pouring pints to working in an office environment took some getting used to. Luckily everyone that works at Brighton Fringe are very lovely and I have settled in well!

What shows have caught your eye in this year's Fringe?

There are so many! I can't wait to see lots of things at Shiny Town, this is a new venue this year and I've seen videos of acts such as Arco and Trade Winds which look amazing. Number one on my list of things to see is We are Ian, this was Brighton Fringe's best pick of Edinburgh last year and everyone has the best things to say about it. Also Lucy Pearman is doing a free show and she is one of my favourite performers, she's a very funny lady and I think she's definitely one to watch.

Have you been to Brighton Fringe before? If so, have your perceptions of it changed now you've seen the inner workings?

I have experienced the festival only in a small way and now I want to do it in a big way. There are so many more shows than I knew existed in previous years. I had always seen banners for things like Fringe City, the festival's free outdoor showcase which takes over central Brighton every weekend, but I'd been too busy studying to go and check it out. This year I'm going to get right in the middle of it, I feel like I know all the best bits now from working here so if you see me around you know you're in the right place!

Do you believe internships are a good way for people to get experience in their chosen career field?

100% yes. It can be really hard when you finish University to find a job. When you have spent all your time (and money) studying it can be quite gutting to get response from a job application saying that you don't have enough experience. It's a very hard cycle as you just need someone to take a chance on you. The great thing about an internship is that it is a learning and development experience, in most cases they won't expect you to be the full package but hopefully you might be when you leave!

What are your interests outside of work?

Aside from performing and comedy I love travelling and am currently training for the London marathon! It's a month away now and I am kind of looking back at myself six months ago (the most exercise I had done at this point was opening a bottle of wine) thinking why in your right mind do you want to do that to yourself but it's an experience and hopefully I will finish it alive and it might actually be fun!

If you could send a message back to 16-year-old you, what would you say?

I would say: don't think twice about choosing to study subjects that might not be considered to be the most 'academic' because studying the arts is no walk in the park and if you enjoy it don't listen to anyone else! Also visit Brighton more because you're going to love it!

If you could give one piece of advice to our readers, what would it be?

I would say that if they are passionate about the arts and want to get a career in this area, don't settle for something else. Before I heard back from Brighton Fringe I was offered a position in a technology company who needed to have an answer from my straight away. It was a hard decision as I had no guarantee that I would get the job at the Fringe but I was so passionate about it that I turned the other job down and luckily it worked in my favour. Even if it didn't though it made me realise how strongly I felt about it and I would encourage other people to go for what they feel is right for them too.

Jessy has also written a great guide on how to enjoy the Fringe for free. You can find it here!


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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