For many of us in theater, we spend as much time on stage in the summer as we do during school the rest of the year. In college, students spend summer break in theaters all across the country doing internships. I want to tell you a little about my internship I have this summer in Nashville; working as a Summer Camp Intern at the Nashville Children’s Theater.
It’s a great Equity theater located near downtown, where adult actors but on productions based on children’s books and entertainment. They cover a wide range of kid’s favorites, from serious subjects like The Giver and Number the Stars, to more light-hearted stories like Go, Dog, Go and Schoolhouse Rock. During the summer, the theater puts on their Summer Drama Camps for kids from pre-school through high school in a variety of classes. The Storybook Adventures and Staging Stories classes take books and poem and turn them into short plays. Treasure Trunk Theater uses clues from a treasure chest to build the student’s own story, while Playvention creates a story right from the kid’s imagination. There are also classes for monologues, ensemble acting, musical theater, and on camera work.
For the ten of us who are Summer Camp Interns, we have many jobs during the camp day. Our main job is to work in the classes assisting the Teaching Artist in the class. We help build the stories that the students share for their parents at the end of the week, play theater games and activities, and even block scenes in the shows.
This week, I’m working with the two-week Musical Theater class with middle and high school students. In our show, there are five different groups of passengers taking a cruise. However, not everyone is on the right ship and many hilarious situations happen before their trip is straightened out. Our students are using improvised scenes and ten songs from a wide range of musicals to tell the story. The teachers chose songs from A Funny Thing Happened, Aida, Titanic, The Drowsy Chaperone, and Mamma Mia, giving students exposure to different musical styles. This class gives students the opportunity to work on acting, singing and dancing in a production.
There are two interns in this class; we help by dancing and singing along with the students in order to help them memorize songs and choreography. We also run scenes and give direction to the groups to help them get the scene on its feet. Next week, I get to choreograph and stage You’re the Top from Anything Goes with the other intern in my class. Not only do we get to assist the class, but we get to teach the students ourselves and get a first-hand experience at putting together a show.
With all the different jobs in the office and in the camp, with new classes every week, it can get pretty stressful. I think my favorite part of this internship so far are the nine other people I get to work with. There so many different personalities and it’s nice to learn from people who are in different majors and areas of theater than you. We have this intern family we’ve created and love hanging out with each other outside of camp. It’s great to be around being who are as passionate about what they’re doing as you are.