• Increase Text
  • High Contrast Mode

May Volunteer Spotlight – Erica at Shakespeare’s Globe

On a morning Friday in April, I had a chance to hear Erica Westwood speak on call for twenty-five minutes about what has been a great story, where passion for theatre is now being celebrated through volunteering work at the Globe Theatre in Southwark.

An interview with Erica Westwood by Bia Costa

On a morning Friday in April, I had a chance to hear Erica Westwood speak on call for twenty-five minutes about what has been a great story, where passion for theatre is now being celebrated through volunteering work at the Globe Theatre in Southwark.

“I am so loving my volunteering stewarding at the Globe and really did not imagine in my retirement that I would be so busy, meet so many interesting and lovely people and enjoy one of my principal passions being William Shakespeare and his many plays.

From the time in the1960’s when my brilliant English teacher, Mrs Anson, took her group of students to Stratford upon Avon and we watched A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Cymbeline I was enchanted with theatre and to remember back that I saw Vanessa Redgrave and Judy Dench as young actors still makes me feel very good.

All my working life it has appeared that due to travel, work commitments and bringing up a family, there has not been much time for committed charity work until my retirement.  Working in the City for a large period of my life I have of course seen the Globe across the Thames and occasionally walked over the Millennium Bridge but not really looked into all the Globe’s facets of activity.

My daughter, Sarah, suggested I apply for volunteering (she has started much earlier in her life doing volunteering already) and last year I nervously signed up and was accepted.

Why am I doing this stewarding? Well, the Globe is a charity which relies on the generosity of patrons and volunteers in all categories and to me it is such a right thing to give my time, effort, and experience back to society and it is a really good feeling to do so.

Also, I do get to work in the most magical surroundings looking across the river at St Paul’s cathedral and with so many likeminded volunteers of all ages who happily give their time in helping patrons have a great experience at the Globe.

I am particularly impressed, and help to steward as much as I can, in the Globe’s Educational Activities which seem to go on all year from putting on plays and activities especially for young children such as Storytelling, Education group performances, and the yearly ‘Playing Shakespeare’ production, sponsored by Deutche Bank, where we offer thousands of free-to-access tickets for pupils aged 11–16 at non-selective state secondary schools in London and Birmingham; and thousands of subsidised tickets for all other schools nationwide.

Giving young people the opportunity to absorb and access Shakespeare, as I was given all those years ago. It’s very worthwhile and fulfilling, albeit sometimes extremely chaotic and definitely noisy!”

There are many ways and formats of volunteering, please find more information on the Community Southwark website. Remember to celebrate what gives you joy, and joy will find you, even in your retirement!  

Thank you to Erica and the Shakespeare’s Globe for sharing her story. You can find out more about volunteering with the Globe on their website.