Wabash Blogs 2008 Summer Internships

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Know Indiana: Morton '10 Learned at Repertory Theatre

Anthony Morton '10 - I could not ask for a better internship than what I just experienced. For the last eight weeks I had the opportunity to work at the Indiana Repertory Theatre downtown Indianapolis provided by a grant through Know Indiana. For the first four weeks of my internship I worked with various administrative departments, mainly the Youth Audience Development Department and the Development Department.

One project I completed for the Youth Audience was compiling demographic research about what schools attended what productions last season. More importantly, however, was finding schools the IRT hasn’t been able to get to the theatre. Then I learned about IRT’s mission: to produce top-quality, professional theatre and related activities, providing experiences that engage, surprise, challenge and entertain people throughout their lifetimes, thereby helping to build a vital and vibrant community. Getting students to the theatre is absolutely one of their main priorities and I was more than happy to aid them in learning about what schools they could possibly reach out to whether it’s through underwriting ticket sales for student matinees or providing means for transportation to get students to the IRT.

When working for the Development Department I had the opportunity to learn about grant writing and grant proposal research, a subject I always thought was dull and loathsome, but as I dived into my research, I actually enjoyed the research I was doing and was able to find a number of foundations the IRT could send a request to whether it be for interests concerning culture, youth, or education. I was so fascinated because while the IRT is a non-profit organization, funding is so important because they need large sums of funding to produce the fully professional shows they put on stage.

When my first four weeks ended, I supervised a group of students interested in technical theatre during the IRT’s Summer Conservatory for Youth for the last four weeks. I had a group of ten students between the ages of fourteen and eighteen and we covered everything involved with the technical side of theatre including directing, stage management, playwriting, props, costumes, and set, sound, and light design. I was so fortunate to work with such a bright group of students. We covered so much in so little time that I was amazed to see them take it all in.

After learning about these different aspects of technical theatre, each student designed costume renderings and a set with a lighting plot for Shakespeare’s MacBeth, which the IRT is actually producing this fall. Each student also wrote a ten-minute play under the guidance of Jeff Casazza, a professional playwright, and Richard Roberts, the IRT’s dramaturge. Their plays then received a staged reading by professional actors such as Rob Johansen, Priscilla Lindsay, Milicent Wright, Robert Neal, Constance Macy, and Ryan Artzberger. The purpose of this reading was not to see how the actors displayed the characters, but for the playwrights to actually see and hear their work on stage and determine if they were satisfied with what they wrote or if they would like to continue making changes to perfect their play.

Fortunately for me, I did not take a back seat and merely supervise the students, but I participated in everything they did, which has actually thrown me into a loop of creativity have I have never experienced before. I am currently writing three short plays and want to learn more and more about technical theatre. From the moment I arrived, the IRT staff greeted me warmly. I was introduced to many new people and made many great friends. The friendly and family-like atmosphere was almost too much to bear as I parted with hugs, tears, and bittersweet good-byes. If you are ever in Indianapolis, be sure to visit the IRT for they surely have the ability to challenge minds, move hearts and inspire creativity.