Advice for Prospective Interns: Theater Administration Internship with TYA/USA
Last August, I completed a Summer Education Internship with Lexington Children’s Theatre and felt as energized and excited about theatre for youth as I had ever been. Unfortunately, I had recently decided to decline the chance to enter a graduate program and felt I had very few possible outlets for this reinvigorated passion. Around this time, I was tremendously lucky to discover the administrative internships offered by Theatre for Young Audiences/USA. I immediately applied for and was hired as Intern for Membership and Publications.
While researching potential internships, I was initially reluctant to pursue an administrative position as I had always considered myself a teaching artist, director, and designer. As I am now several months into this internship, any reluctance has completely vanished. I strongly recommend that all theatre artists spend some time as an administrator. This internship has helped me become much more organized, a better critical thinker, and a better written communicator. During this internship, I have learned how to compile a massive database, write press releases, edit websites, and reach out to potential new members. In addition to this, I have had the opportunity to research potential resources for members, a process which has greatly increased my knowledge of Theatre for Young Audiences as a whole. This knowledge has allowed me to put more thought into why I’ve been involved with the field and has helped me improve greatly as a theatre artist.
I was quite lucky to find an internship where I am able to work off-site. While TYA/USA’s offices are located in Chicago, I have been able to do my work in Omaha, NE. Shortly after joining TYA/USA, I was offered a position as Teaching Artist Fellow at the Omaha Theater Company. I have been extremely fortunate to be able to work as an educator by day and an administrator by night. While there were often times when one of these jobs began to stress me out, the other one often provided an outlet for that stress and a chance to focus on something else.
So now…what’s my advice to people interested in an administrative internship? My biggest piece of advice would be to keep in mind that it is an ADMINISTRATIVE internship. While there are certainly opportunities to think creatively and strategically, my internship is certainly not directly connected to theatrical production. I believe it is very important for those looking into internships to thoroughly consider the duties of the internship and ask as many questions about the internship as possible.
I will also highly encourage early career theatre artists to get involved with the national member-based organizations such as Theatre for Young Audiences/USA. Even if you are not available to spend an entire semester or season in an internship like mine, there are opportunities to serve on committees or as an intern at a conference. These organizations, committees, and conferences all offer many opportunities to grow and learn as a theatre artist and connect with other theatre professionals. My experiences with these major organizations have been truly fantastic. I recommend looking into the opportunities at TYA/USA.
TYA/USA is seeking interns for SUMMER and FALL 2013. Our internship program provides valuable experience in non-profit management, and arts marketing. The intern, with the executive director will develop a list of learning goals that they would like to accomplish. Interns are trained and supervised by TYA/USA Executive Director and, when possible, have interaction with board members.
Patrick Kilcoyne is a native of Omaha, NE who earned his BFA in Technical Theatre in 2012. Since that time, he has completed an education internship with Lexington Children’s Theatre and a three month Teaching Artist Fellowship with the Omaha Theater Company. He is currently TYA/USA’s Intern for Membership and Publications and serves on the Communications Committee of the Pride Youth Theatre Alliance as well as the Membership Committee of the American Alliance for Theatre and Education. This summer, he will be an intern at One Theatre World and will serve as Company Manager for the Nebraska Shakespeare Festival.