With the closing weekend of “Butler” upon us and the opening of “Always…Patsy Cline” Sept. 3, the Players is preparing for a shift in company members. Since company report date in mid-May a core group of 10 interns have run the theatrical gauntlet of professional summer stock.
Following the tradition of Players’ founders, brother and sister Richard and Caroline Fisher, college-age apprentices have learned the craft of theater by working alongside seasoned professionals day in and day out.
Olivia Bagley, Shannon Golden, Keira Jacobs, Ellen Johnson, Elizabeth (Liz) Keeney, Tracy Nowak, Andrew Purvis, Cory Vincent are the eight production interns who have rotated duties every three weeks between the scene shop, costume shop, properties, assistant stage managing, helping the box office, and performing such backstage running crew duties as operating the light and sound boards. Peter Brian Kelly and Larissa Petersen serve as administrative interns, assisting in the box office, managing the canteen and being audience liaisons as house managers. Together, these interns combined their efforts and talents to assist the staff in presenting a successful 79th season at the Players. Everyone at the Players thanks you for hard work.
As each show opens at the Players our interns rotate their daytime and nighttime assignments. During the course of the 13 weeks they have worked alongside 18 professional designers stitching costumes, painting and building scenery, focusing stage lights, setting speakers, running cables for lights and sound and crafting props. They have learned painting techniques from four scenic artists and customer service skills from the administrative staff.
“What is great about this internship are the endless opportunities to learn, and knowing that you are in such a supportive environment that you aren’t afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and gain skills in a completely different area than your own,” said Shannon, an Indianapolis, Indiana native who recently graduated from Ball State University with a degree in stage management.
Shannon is one of two recipients of the Kathryn A. Doerr Apprentice Fund. Established in 2013 in memory of Katie (by her family), this fund provides critical support to the internship program. During her lifetime, Katie was an advocate and supporter of arts education. Her legacy provides scholarships for two interns during the Players season.
Larissa, a recent graduate from UW-Stevens Point with majors in drama and arts management, is also a recipient of this scholarship. She visited Door County for the first time last year and instantly fell in love with Peninsula Players and the county.
“I saw the amazing things that were happening at Peninsula Players and knew that I had to be a part of it,” Larissa said. “It worked out perfectly that UW-Stevens Point offers an internship opportunity through their Arts Management program. It was simply a perfect fit.”
During rotations interns pick up various skills and experiences. As assistant stage manager for the world premiere of “The Tin Woman” Ellen helped bring a new script to life. Liz helped build and distress Shepard Mallory’s costumes for “Butler.” To distress is to make something new look old and worn. Liz learned how to use a cheese grater on fabric.
“I was intrigued and excited by the prospect of a theater community that had a strong passion for its art,” said Andrew, a student of Knox College from Colorado Springs, Colorado. “I wanted to be a part of a company that will encourage me to learn and expand my skills.”
Andrew did just that. He rehearsed and is acting in “Butler” with Peter, built costumes for “The Mystery of Irma Vep” and worked its many costume quick changes with Shannon, Liz, Olivia and Kiera. Olivia helped create vintage replica dresses for “And Then There Were None,” crafted documents from 1861 and greeted patrons at will call with Cory and others.
The have helped actors run lines, sewed on snaps, buttons, Velcro and magnets. They have carved foam, pulled nails, operated drill guns, table saws, routers and learned there is no left-handed hammer. They have directed traffic in the parking lot, ushered and greeted patrons at the door and managed the concession stand.
They have also participated in various workshops held by company members. Topics have varied from auditioning and interviewing techniques, preparing resumes, set design and performing improv.
They have built Egypt, Fort Monroe and the Grand Ole Opry. They have helped to craft a sarcophagus from wood and Styrofoam and vintage fountain pens from aluminum knitting needles. They have performed numerous light, sound and microphone checks.
They have pushed platforms of scenery on and off stage, rotated trick fireplaces and run the ropes to operate the fly-system to shift scenery, which created the seamless flow of “The Tin Woman.”
They have become members of a collaborative team of artists whose work is deeply appreciated by one and all. Thank you Andrew, Cory, Ellen, Keira, Larissa, Liz, Peter, Tracy, Olivia and Shannon. If you join us for “Always…Patsy Cline” or “Butler” you can too.
A few of them will soon return to their academic programs to share what they have learned while interning at America’s oldest professional resident summer theater. Some have earned points toward the Actors Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers, which accredits the 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 https://www.peninsulaplayers.com or contact me at [email protected] for an application. If you are interested in supporting the Peninsula Players Intern Program contact Danielle Kapolnek at [email protected] or via phone at (920) 868-3287.