Peninsula Players Announce Internship Program
For 82 years, The Peninsula Players Theatre in Door County, Wisconsin, has thrived amidst the lush woods, vibrant bay and storied traditions that brother and sister founders, Caroline and Richard Fisher built upon in 1935. One of these honored traditions was their dream of a professional company where apprentices and interns learn by doing.
That dream is alive today, as America's oldest professional resident summer theatre celebrates its 2017 season and welcomes 10 new interns into the community. They live, play and work side-by-side with industry professionals including members of Actors' Equity, the union of professional actors and stage managers; members of United Scenic Artists, the union of scenic, lighting, sound and costume design; and members of the Stage Director and Choreographers Society.
With home bases in Colorado, Indiana, Utah, Tennessee, Washington DC, South Carolina and Wisconsin, these recent graduates and current students represent their university programs, which combine to enhance their knowledge with real-world experience in designated fields.
"Getting to work in different departments and learning different aspects of theater work that I haven't been able to see before has been incredibly fun," said production intern Alex Rettie.
Rettie will be going into his senior year at Utah Valley University where he is pursuing a degree in stage management.
So far this season, Rettie has been involved with the box office, scenic shop and worked as assistant stage manager for the Peninsula Players' second show, "Peter and the Starcatcher." This exploration is a highlight for many of the interns' experience with Players.
The 2017 interns celebrate their first sunset at Peninsula Players for the summer.
The internship program is a vital part of the Peninsula Players mission to foster future generations of theater professionals. Areas of concentration include stage carpentry, electrics, sound, wardrobe, properties and scenic painting. Additionally, interns also gain experience in theater operations and assist with public relations, marketing, house management, box office management and assisting the Managing Director, Business Manager, and Development and Events Manager.
"The interns at Peninsula Players work with professional actors, managers, and technicians for 19 weeks in all aspects of theater, making us unique among internship programs," said Production Manager Cody Westgaard.
Eight production interns rotate duties every three weeks between the scene shop, costume shop, properties, assistant stage managing, box office, and backstage running crew duties such as lighting and sound. Two interns work in administration, assisting in the box office, managing the canteen and assisting with house management. Together, they combine efforts and talents to assist the staff in presenting a successful 82nd season at the Players.
As assignments vary from show to show, Peninsula Players interns gain diverse experiences, which includes but is not limited to running crew, light and sound board operation, dressing cast members, and assisting with front-of-house duties. During this season, Peninsula Players patrons meet the interns as they also usher, park cars and sell tickets in the box office.
"I would love to learn more about all the different ways Players markets themselves and their shows and eventually assist with some of those projects," said Mary Knight, a Medford, Wisconsin native who recently graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point with degrees in Arts Management and Public Relations.
Knight is one of two recipients of the Kathryn A. Doerr Apprentice Fund. Established in 2013, in memory of Katie A. Doerr by her family, this fund provides critical support to the apprentice program. During her lifetime, Doerr was an advocate and supporter of arts education. Her legacy provides scholarships for two apprentices during the Players season. Production intern Marie Welter, a recent graduate of Red Rocks Community College in Colorado, is a recipient of the Doerr Fund as well.
This season the Palmer Foundation is also providing support for the apprentice program. The Palmer Foundation is supporting Tia Williams' internship experience and career goal of becoming a professional stage manager.
The program's diversity and unique atmosphere draw applicants from across the country.
Production interns Caelyn Harris and Derek Foret work on props for Peter and the Starcatcher.
"I was looking for a broad and comprehensive internship experience and was recommended by my friend and previous production intern Matt Super," said production intern Derek Foret.Foret is a recent graduate from Kenyon College in Ohio with a degree in mathematics, but has always had a passion for theater, specifically in stage and production management. So far this season, Foret has assisted with scenic build, props and in the box office. Production intern Stefani Azores-Gococo expresses what she hopes to gain from this internship opportunity. "A broad network of theater people in Chicago that is made up of people whom I truly have relationships with, and to increase my technical skills and creative skills in costuming," said Azores-Gococo, a senior at Loyola University pursuing a degree in costuming. So far this season, Azores-Gococo has assisted with props, scenic build, costuming and is currently working in the box office. Being part of a well-established arts organization as Peninsula Players and working alongside award-winning designers, directors and performers is a rewarding experience for all of these interns. The Actors Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers, accredits the Peninsula Players intern program. Interns may earn points toward membership in the union and/or college credit through their summer stage work at Peninsula Players. For more information about the internship program visit the Players website at http://www.peninsulaplayers.com for an application. If you are interested in supporting the Peninsula Players Intern Program contact Danielle Szmanda at Danielle@peninsulaplayers.com or via phone at (920) 868-3287.
Peninsula Players is America's oldest professional resident summer theater and is unique in the country for its diverse productions, continuing loyalty to its resident company and beautiful setting of 16 wooded acres along the cedar-lined shores of Green Bay. In the past 82 years, the theater has become a Door County landmark and cornerstone arts institution, attracting audience members from throughout Wisconsin and across the country.