Intern Success Stories
My junior year of college, one of my professors recommended Taproot’s internship program. I’d never been to Seattle, or even the Northwest before, but I applied and to my delight I was accepted. I interned summer of 2006 with the Acting Studio, then again in summer 2007 as Karen Lund’s intern. When I interned with the Acting Studio, I spent most of my time assistant teaching children’s classes. As the summer progressed the teachers gave us interns increasing responsibilities. Each acting camp would last 1-2 weeks, and I helped teach with kids aged 4-18. I also assisted with the Church Drama Conference, helped in the admin office, and even participated (in costume!) in Taproot’s part of the Greenwood parade. I also had the opportunity to take a class myself with Marianne Savell that summer. I used many of the warm up exercises and improv games I learned that summer at Taproot during the directing I did the my senior year of college. That interest in directing lead me to interning with Karen. I assisted Karen with her daily activities as the Associate Artistic Director. I organized and helped run auditions for the mainstage shows, and assisted Karen while she directed The Importance Of Being Earnest.
During my internship with Karen, I auditioned for Taproot’s Road Company, and was hired on to start in Fall of 2007 and I’ve been touring with Road Company ever since. I’m in the Road Company shows during the school year, and I’ve also toured in Taproot’s traveling Christmas shows. It’s a joy to be on the staff of Taproot, and to be using my theatre degree right out of college. The five of us on the Road Company tour to schools all over the Northwest, and every day we have new adventures performing for kids at schools.
I had an employer who once told me, “If it’s worth doing for free it’s worth doing for free until someone will pay you to do it.” That is the mindset I took into my internships. I wanted to become a director, and if I devoted my free time to a project, I wanted it to be directing-related. I had a slightly different experience in my internship at Taproot because most interns work primarily on assisting teachers for the summer camps. While I was involved in the summer camps as a teacher, my internship was assistant directing for Scott and Karen on the Mainstage. While assisting, I really got an inside view of the director’s process. I was able to sit in on design and production meetings, and had the opportunity to both ask questions and provide input when requested. The people at Taproot really care about nurturing future generations of artists, and I grew considerably as a director. I also found Taproot to be a source of artistic and personal renewal during the challenging experience of getting my Master of Fine Arts.
The great experiences I had with Taproot led me to seek further opportunities with them. Taproot attempted to get a grant to fund a new position for me within the organization. While Taproot did not receive the grant, the position of Director of Outreach was opening up just as I finished graduate school. Taproot asked me for an application, and I was able to move directly from New Jersey to Seattle and start my new position one month after finishing school. I was one of only four people in my fifteen-person MFA class who had work lined up upon graduation.
I have participated in internships at Dallas Theater Center, Starlight Theater, and the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival in addition to my internship at Taproot. I got so much out of my internship at Taproot that I would recommend it over most of my other internships even though I received monetary compensation in all the others. The staff at Taproot takes an active interest in the professional development of the interns. They offer hands-on practical experience in an environment characterized by respect for others and devotion to the craft of theatre.
I interned with Taproot Theatre the summer of 2007 as a Teaching Intern. I was so enthusiastic about it I started in May, a month before the summer classes start, and when most interns join in. I was able to attend the Theatre Puget Sound Auditions with Associate Artistic Director, Karen Lund. I assisted with an acting class residency at Fairfax Psychiatric Hospital with Education Director Sara Willy, and was able to help around the office. I sought out opportunities to become more involved, even helping with the Prologue Campaign display and doing my very own curtain speech. All this was in addition to all the work I did assisting camps through the summer.
I learned much about the structure and team work involved in making Taproot run. A few years later, after graduating with my BFA Acting from Oklahoma City University, an opportunity arose. The Education and Outreach Associate was pregnant, and due a month after I moved back to Seattle. I expressed my interest, and was hired on as the temporary E&O Associate. When Alicia decided she needed more time with her new baby, Taproot invited me to stay on, and I jumped at the opportunity.
I credit this job to the experience I had through the internship. Now, part of my job is processing intern applications, and I am always excited to speak to prospective interns about my experience, and how it helped me in my career.
Annelih G. Holganza
Taproot’s Internship Program was definitely a positive start to my professional theatre career here in Seattle. They welcomed me with open arms & hearts into their community of spiritual artists.
As a teaching intern, I was given the blessed opportunity to work with children, which is something I plan to incorporate into my future as a theatre practitioner. By assisting the wide variety of classes, I quickly learned how to develop my teaching style & where my strengths & areas of improvements lie as an educator. Plus, the Acting Studio offers classes to a wide age range, and I learned how to work with kids of all ages.
Plus, the relationships you create with the other interns & staff are valuable beyond words. I have made friendships with several of the people I met in the program that I expect to last for many, many years.
Since the Internship Program, I worked with Taproot’s Christmas Touring Program as an actor in The Foolish Wiseman. That was such an awesome experience. I firmly believe that my participation in the Internship Program helped me establish a connection with Taproot & presented itself that awesome opportunity.
In the next few months, I will be packing my bags & heading over to Gainesville, FL to pursue my M.F.A. in Acting at the University of Florida! What is most unique about this graduate program is I will BE PAID to teach. In short, I will be paid to go to school, which is a dream come true. My experience at Taproot as a teaching intern has prepared me for the job I’m about to take on in a few short months!
Taproot rocks. It really does.