My name is Samantha and I had the wonderful experience of being an intern at Act II Playhouse this past summer. I am a rising sophomore at Northwestern University, majoring in Theatre and Political Science. Although I now go to school outside Chicago, I spent most of my life living in Ambler where I was lucky enough to have been able to attend a number of productions at Act II over the years. Thus when I decided to search for an internship for the summer, naturally I thought to check out the theater down the street where I had even grown to know and love some of the repeat performers (one being, of course, Tony Braithwaite, now Act II’s Artistic Director).
When I interviewed for the position, I was told that there wasn’t necessarily a precise job description — an intern here could be doing anything from researching the history of upcoming productions to taking calls in the Box Office. And that’s what I’ve done — a little bit of everything. I did research on Spanish puppetry, put together a glossary for next season’s Man of La Mancha, became a pro (or at least fairly competent) at selling tickets with Total Info, helped build a set, took notes on rehearsals, distributed marketing material to local businesses, observed meetings, and completed other odd jobs all in the name and spirit of theatre.
Act II Playhouse is like a child prodigy. (Bear with me.) It may be small and unintimidating upon first glance, but its inner workings are perpetually ablaze with wit and thoughtfulness and passion. Because the Playhouse is small inside and out, the staff is able to treat everybody — co-workers, theatergoers, cast members — with personal attention and care. Everyone is dedicated and creative and smart. During my first week here, I was invited to sit in on a staff meeting and a production meeting. It was incredibly exciting for me to experience these meetings at the professional level and to listen to seasoned professionals discuss professional matters. But rather than the strict, business-like environment that is often associated with the word “professional,” I was pleased to find myself in the friendly, familial atmosphere that was Act II Playhouse.
During my first couple weeks as an intern, Act II kicked off its “Summer Flings” with an improv show called Just Wingin’ It. I sat in on rehearsals for a few days before asking if I could be of any help to the stage manager, and consequently assisting her for the run of the show, as well as for the third production of the “Summer Flings” series. By not being assigned to one department as as intern, as I likely would be at a larger theater, I was given the invaluable opportunity to learn a little bit about what it’s like to work in a variety of positions. By being assigned to a wide array of tasks, I was able to get a feel for the myriad duties that a professional theater has and add several new skills to my arsenal.
At the end of my freshman year of college, I had been introduced to so many ideas about theatre and about how it exists in the world, as well as to other subjects unrelated to art that interested me, and I was truly feeling somewhat unsure of my choice to pursue a life in the theatre. I still felt the passion that had always driven me, but for some reason I found the light dimming, perhaps in the face of a number of new interests, or perhaps due to a general uncertain feeling that may accompany many students’ freshman years. Regardless of what it was, at the end of the summer, after being surrounded by adults who have dedicated much of their lives to theatre whose passion is still blindingly bright after so many years, it would have been hard to not be inspired by my time at Act II Playhouse.
Know a student or former student interested in interning with Act II Playhouse? We are now accepting resumes for our fall 2013 internship. Learn more.