Three times a year, Center Theatre Group welcomes a new class of bright-eyed students and recent graduates to its internship program. With internships available in almost every department, from artistic development and marketing to community outreach, the program brings together a diverse group of young people from theatre and non-theatre backgrounds alike. These interns are smart, ambitious, and ready to make an impact. And I’m not just saying that because I’m one of them. We have big dreams for the future, and we are just getting started on making them a reality.
We are dancers, stage managers, data analysts, writers, and more. Most of us are here because of a pre-existing dedication to theatre and an appreciation for non-profits. “I have loved theatre my entire life,” said Katie Lockie, who’s interning with the development team this fall 2015 semester. “I wanted to learn about the different behind-the-scenes aspects that go into running a theatre company.”
Many of us are also pursuing a specific career goal like Kristyn Whitley, in human resources: “My internship at CTG will provide me with the knowledge and skills to be an effective and efficient human resources generalist through providing continuous support to all departments and all levels of management and staff.”
Others are seeking opportunities unavailable on their college campuses, like Jessica Morataya, the Kirk Douglas Theatre’s management intern: “At my university, they only offered one class about [arts management],” she said. “I thought it would be a tremendous opportunity to get a hands-on experience on how to run a theatre on a larger scale.”
But we’re not just here for professional development; it’s personal, too. “I still have much growing to do,” said community partnerships intern Jonathan Garza, who added that CTG’s mission fuels his own “passion to influence through theatre” by working “to educate and spread theatre culture to enrich the lives of those who might have never seen a theatre production, or know of their existence.”
Casting intern Alison Falzetta is using her time at CTG to solidify plans for her future. “I’ve been considering casting as a future career path,” she said. “Being at CTG has only confirmed that casting is something I really enjoy and will continue to consider moving forward.”
Perhaps what is most exciting about this group is the energy we bring to the diverse issues that inspire us. When I asked my fellow interns for their visions for the future of theatre or their respective fields, I was blown away by their enthusiasm and devotion. We want to help make the world a better place.
Adeney Zo, the media and communications intern, is a passionate dancer and teacher. “My dream is to someday travel the world while teaching and learning as many styles of dance as possible,” she said. “I feel that dance, as well as the arts in general, is a universal language that bridges cultural barriers and connects people in such a powerful way.”
Jonathan (in community partnerships), and Kat Chevalier, who is also interning in development, agreed. “Theatre is more than entertaining,” said Jonathan. “It is possible for an individual to come out of a theatre changed, or with a new outlook on life. That’s the power we hold, and that’s how we, together, influence lives and culture.”
Kat added, “Being able to express your emotions in a healthy way and critically think about literature are two amazing things that come from participating in the arts, and function as amazing tools in cultivating self-awareness, emotional stability, and personal growth. I want to be an advocate for incorporating theatre into the American school system and ensuring that every child has the opportunity to be exposed to theatre and performing arts early on in life.”
Many interns are concerned about representation and accessibility in theatre. Literary fellow Rebecca Tessier is particularly dedicated to making change in these areas. “I believe that as an artist and specifically a playwright of color, it is my duty to pair my activism with my art,” she said. “Just by being a female playwright of color, I am opening doors for my fellow brothers and sisters.”
Alison (in casting) wants to see greater diversity everywhere. “I think that diverse works of art come from diversity at the creative level,” she said, “not only writers or directors, but artistic directors, producers, executives, talent agents, casting agents.” Her priority is “bringing unique and diverse creators to the screen or stage.”
As for me, I am dedicated to the integration of theatre and new media. As technology is evolving, so are our desires for entertainment. I think there’s tremendous potential for live performance to become more financially accessible and diverse while maintaining cultural relevance when new technology is embraced.
I am very grateful to be part of this fearless group of problem solvers, and I’m hoping I’ll help contribute to all the incredible things this group will accomplish.