By Mia Guevara Morgan
When I joined the ranks of Goodman Theatre earlier this year as a publicity intern, I wanted to gain more experience in a field I am passionate about. In this role, I assist with the media relations for the Goodman’s Communications department. Some of my duties include tracking Goodman Theatre media coverage and preparing materials for opening night events, which I also assist with. Since Goodman performances have been suspended, my workload has changed. I continue to assist with media requests as well as track and compile any press that the theater gets.
In case you weren’t aware, April is National Internship Awareness month! In 2017, Career Edge Organization established National Internship Awareness Month in order to highlight the many benefits of internships. For someone who is starting their career, an internship is a great way for them to gain experience in a field they are interested in. It is also a great opportunity for a company to find and train new talent.
With this in mind, I decided to interview other Goodman Theatre interns about their experiences. Our expectations and duties have changed because of COVID-19, but we still learned a lot during our time at the Goodman.
So why become an intern at the Goodman? We each have our own reasons, but Allie, a casting intern, explains hers here. “The more I looked into the Goodman as an institution,” she says, “I found that I liked how committed they are to telling diverse stories.” While Allie was drawn to the stories told on the stages, Abby, an intern in the education department, enjoyed being taught by Goodman’s Director of Education and Community Engagement, Willa Taylor. Abby says, “I was inspired by Willa and Goodman’s overall mission and programs. I was interested in working at a company that put emphasis on an education program that was fully integrated in the work they were doing.”
Going into our new roles, we each had our own goals and expectations we wanted to meet by the end of our internship. Our time at the physical building was cut short, but we appreciate the time we did have there. Maggie’s expectations were definitely met while working in the marketing department. “I don’t feel confined to marketing at all,” she says. “I feel like they try to make it a really immersive experience.” She adds, “I feel like there is so much they want us to learn about which has been really awesome. They give us the ability to go to the show previews or opening nights and we get to work at the cast parties. I don’t feel like I’m just doing my tasks and then going home.”
Nearly all of this spring’s interns have had other internships before, but nothing quite like this. “I definitely feel a huge amount of responsibility,” explains Jane, a literary intern, who is responsible for carefully reading and evaluating each script submission the Goodman receives and communicating with the Literary Manager and Resident Dramaturg about whether or not she believes the scripts should be given further consideration. She confesses, “if I am not 100% focused on my work…this is serious. It means something.” Development intern Maddie adds, “this is the first internship where I felt like people respected me and trusted me to complete difficult tasks. With such a big department, there are certain areas that you never have to touch. If you want to write grants all day and do research, that’s an option.” She adds, “it has definitely made me aware of options for people like me who are really specifically minded, but want to stay in the arts fundraising world.”
Now that we have to work from home, our individual workloads have changed. Maddie mentioned that during this time, she was assigned to write her first grant. “They asked me to write a grant, which was something I had never done before,” she reveals, “but it’s a good opportunity because if I stick with this field, I’ll be doing that a lot!” Allie, on the other hand, mentions that working from home is “a bit of a bummer.” She says, “prepping for auditions is a big part of my job and unfortunately, I was only able to set up a few auditions–our big audition season would’ve started during this time.”
In the time we had at the Goodman, we were all able to gain plenty of new skills and sharpen those we already had. Despite all of this hard work, we still had plenty of fun. Some of our favorite moments were attending opening night events, sitting in on rehearsals and getting to know the other interns and staff. As Maddie says, “it’s the most fun I’ve had in an internship so far!”
Now that we have learned so much, we have plenty of advice to offer future applicants. Abby suggests that during your interview, “truly be yourself.” Maggie recommends, “have confidence! Put yourself out there and be open to the different ways to learn.” “Do your research,” is Jane’s advice for applicants–she also wants to remind the next wave of interns that, “the internship goes by faster than you think. Soak it all up!” We all agree that there is no need to worry about not knowing everything because no one expects that from you. It’s all about the learning experience!Despite our internship having been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re all really grateful for the experiences we shared together in the office and in the theaters. As part of our operational suspension due to circumstances surrounding COVID-19, we unfortunately must also temporarily suspend our Internship program. Those interested in a Goodman internship should check GoodmanTheatre.org for program updates.