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Volunteering at Cheltenham Literature Festival 2021

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The Times and Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival is looking for friendly, hard-working and enthusiastic volunteers to help with all aspects of running a successful festival. This would be a valuable experience especially for those passionate about arts administration, events management and stage production. Volunteers will be need to be available from Thursday 7th October – Monday 18th October.

We try to give our volunteers the best experience possible and we are so grateful for the time and effort given. So, whether you have a bit of free time, are looking to gain some experience in the events industry, or, acquire new skills and knowledge on how to run a festival, this is for you! This is also a very good opportunity to give something back to the community, and whether you’re a fan of Literature or simply looking to get into it, this is a great opportunity to discover more about the scene.

Above all, being a volunteer is also being part of a family, getting to know new people and have a great time all together.
We are currently planning on returning to a full capacity Festival, however Cheltenham Festivals monitors the Government’s Covid-19 guidance and may adjust it’s policy accordingly. We really want to make sure we all stay safe as well as having a fabulous experience!

UK travel expenses will be paid and accommodation is provided if your do not live locally. This also includes a small contribution towards living costs (accommodations will be in accordance with the latest Covid-19 guidance). You will also receive a free Cheltenham Festivals T-shirt to wear during the Festival. And of course, the opportunity to get behind the scenes with the chance to see great events for free!

The work involved can be demanding, but the long days involve a lot of variety and are hugely. Work includes:

Site Preparation (mainly on the day before the Festival starts)

  • Furniture distribution
  • Venue set-up
  • Backstage/Artist set-up
  • Site vibing/ dressing the site

Site support

  • Keeping the site tidy
  • Checking banners and posters are still secure
  • Maintaining levels of security in No-Access areas
  • Waste/Recycling Management

Site Production

  • Erecting banners
  • Securing posters and publicity
  • Maintaining directional signage
  • Maintaining venue signage

Audience Support

  • Directing audience members to locations and venues
  • Advising audience members of site facilities
  • Supporting less-able audience members to their venue

Front of House

  • Welcome audience to the venue
  • Queue management
  • Tearing tickets and directing audience to their seats
  • Leading an evacuation if necessary
  • Preparing the venue for the next event
  • Office Support
  • Answering telephone or radio calls
  • Typing or other word processing
  • Issuing Radios, stationery, venue kit, etc.
  • Responding to call-outs

Writers Room Assistant

  • Supporting the Artist Manager
  • Maintaining the Writers Room
  • Assisting speakers with their preparations or requests

Stage Assistant

  • Sound and lighting assistance
  • Setting up the stage for rehearsal and performance
  • Assisting artists/performers

On Call

  • Responding to any radio calls asking for assistance

Stage Support

  • Preparing the stage for performance – chairs, tables, water, equipment, etc.

Driving (Please note this optional)
Some of our artists might need a lift to the station or to the airport. Volunteers who are willing to drive for us carry out this task and are called ‘Festival Drivers’ as well as ‘Volunteers’. Festival Drivers must have a valid driving licence and provide a DVLA check code before each festival.

  • Drives could include artists / speakers, crew, volunteers, staff or kit
  • Driving our Festival Cars (if applicable)

Volunteers are asked to commit to full time for the duration of the Festival (Thursday 7th October – Monday 18th October). Working hours during the festival are long and tiring. Days often start at 8.30am for morning briefing and don’t finish until the last event has finished, sometimes as late as 11pm. However, we will try to balance your schedule so that you have time to rest too.

We are looking for highly motivated and reliable volunteers; volunteers will need to have good teamwork skills, initiative, and the stamina to work long hours. Evidence for a passion for Literature and/or skills in events management would be a plus.

To apply to be a volunteer please fill in our online application form below. For more information please contact Louise Carles on volunteers@cheltenhamfestivals.com

To be considered in first round interviews, please submit your application by 12 noon on Monday 16th August. Applications submitted after this date may still be considered if we require more volunteers.

If you have not heard from Cheltenham Festivals by 10th September, unfortunately, your application has not been successful.

How to apply

Please complete the Application Form here

Application form