Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ask and You Shall Receive

We made huge strides recently in our research for this grant by actually talking with students! We gathered 12 students from our partner universities and advisors and talked with them about what their ideal internship structure would be in an organization. All the students were extremely enthusiastic and contributed so many great ideas!

Here are a few of the highlights:
• Students need to be paid for their work, especially at a graduate level.

Types of Projects/Tasks
• Students want project based work that serves the needs and increases the capacity of the organization.
• They would like to be supported with their tasks within a safe space to make mistakes.

Mentorship Opportunities
• It is very important to the students that their mentors are prepped through training emphasizing how to work with interns for the benefit of both the organization and the intern.
• Students would like ideally to have a comprehensive view of the organization, working in various departments first, then honing in on one specific area of focus.

Expectations and End Results
• What Students Want the Most:
-Access to the “players” in theatre companies and arts organizations.
-Understanding the politics and cultures of how different organizations work and decisions are made.
-Opportunities to mix and mingling with professionals
-Getting to know other interns—the people they’ll be working with in the future.
• Real Work Experience:
-Understanding use of real budgets, planning processes, and scheduling
-Being exposed to resources, product, and capital that really exist and mean something.
-Being placed in an environment where there are professional systems and protocols.
-Building a network.
-Making connections to larger community and national theatre trends.

A big special thanks to the following students for their insight and participation-your contribution to this research has been invaluable:
Hunter Bird, Lisa Dring, Mira Greene, Marisa Johnston, Jaeeun Joon, Chelsea Larkin, Yanda Li, Alex Lydon, Elena Muslar, Rachel Saltzman, Laura Swanson, Michael Vanderbilt, Erika Varela, and Ashley Walden

On a side note: Theatre Communications Group (TCG) had their annual conference here in Los Angeles and I was able to finally meet Mohammad Shatara, TCG’s Artistic Programs Associate who has been helping with everything to do with this grant so thanks Mo!

Here is a picture of him with Leslie and me celebrating TCG’s 50th Birthday out at the Music Center Plaza. Cheers to TCG for helping us to do this great research!


1 comment:

  1. Hey all!

    Hunter Bird here from the student discussion. This program was, without a doubt, a valuable insight into where I'm going to take my next step. I'm an undergraduate student working in both theater direction and theater management, and this focus group not only helped me understand what experiences are out there, but it also put me in a room with likeminded students looking for similar programs.

    Immediately following the two sessions, Los Angeles plunged into a theater frenzy. I followed all of the events from Pasadena, where I worked for Directors Lab West. Directors Lab West, ironically, was similar in mission to the arts management focus group. The theory behind the gathering was to put everyone in a room and start a dialogue about our joint experiences, and where we're headed as a group of people doing the same thing.

    During the TCG Conference, there was a panel on Los Angeles Theater moderated by Charles McNulty, and featuring various leaders in theater from LA. The opening remark, given by Sheldon Epps, was whether or not LA is, in fact, a theater town. And his response, albeit a bit exasperated, was to say that continuing to ask that question is pointless, because of things like Radar LA, the TCG Conference, and the room filled with theater practitioners.

    This gave me such hope. Like many students, I’m still looking for my artistic home. I’m a born and bred Angelino, having lived her and gone to UCLA. But Sheldon’s remark excited me about living and working in the Los Angeles theater community.

    Our focus group seemed like it was very LA-centric, which paralleled the desire to continue to foster and create theater here in LA.
    It was a blast working with the group, learning from everyone, and taking the information in to inform my own decisions.

    Thank you to CTG, and to MetLife Foundation and TCG. See you in the field!