This release was written by Maggie Ward, who is participating as an administrative intern in the Peninsula Players internship program of 2015.
Peninsula Players Internship Program
Gaining Professional Experience and Making Lifelong Connections
Fish Creek, WI – Peninsula Players Theatre in Door County, Wisconsin is celebrating its 80th year as a professional company. Founded in 1935 by siblings Caroline and Richard Fisher, Peninsula Players is America’s oldest professional resident summer theater. From the very beginning the internship program has been integral to the theater’s legacy. The Fishers created the theater with the hope that interns and apprentices would learn through direct hands-on experience, and this has remained one of the most important traditions of Peninsula Players Theatre.
The company is situated between Egg Harbor and Fish Creek in Door County, surrounded by dense woods and nestled right up to the bay, which offers an amazing view of the Door County sunsets.
This year, the company of the Players is very happy to welcome 10 new interns into the community. The interns have the opportunity to live, work and play 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 designs; and members of the Stage Director and Choreographers Society.
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.
Areas of concentration include stage carpentry, electrics, sound, wardrobe, properties and scenic painting. As assignments vary from show to show, the interns gain diverse experiences which include – but are not limited to – light and sound board operation, running crew and serving as a dresser, as well as front-of-house assignments such as ticket taking, ushering or working at the Box Office and will-call window. These experiences provide training that helps interns cultivate a large and diverse set of skills as they prepare to enter the professional theater workforce.
Two interns serve as administrative interns, where duties include box office sales, hospitality, managing the concession stand and assisting patrons as house managers.
The 2015 interns hail from all over the country with homes in Wisconsin, West Virginia, Tennessee, New York and Ohio. As students and graduates, they represent their respective university programs and seek to enhance their knowledge with real-world experience in their chosen field.
As each show at the Players opens, the production interns rotate assignments. “I decided to apply for this internship because I wanted to bridge the gap from academic to professional theater while also honing my skills in many different areas,” said Matt Super, of Mentor, Ohio and who is a graduate of Kenyon College with a degree in drama. Super worked in the costume shop for the build of “A Real Lulu” and is Assistant Stage Manager and part of the cast for “Dial M for Murder.”
The administration interns also look forward to the transition into a professional setting. “As my time at Peninsula Players continues I am greatly looking forward to learning arts administration in a hands-on manner, which complements my area of study,” said Gina Paulson, hometown in Brodhead, Wisconsin and a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with a B.A. in arts management.
The interns look forward to gaining skills in diverse areas. “I loved the chance to work on many different parts of the production process,” said Anders Goodwin. From Milwaukee, Wisconsin and a graduate of Ripon College with a B.A. in philosophy, psychology and theater, Goodwin is well suited to the diverse nature of the internship, although his focus is stage management.
“I was intrigued by the rotations and the opportunity to gain more experience in multiple areas of theater,” said Rachel Lake, from Hacker Valley, West Virginia and a graduate of West Virginia University with a B.S. in business administration and minors in theater, music and music technology.
Some of the interns were especially excited about unique aspects of the 80th season. “The biggest thing I was looking forward to this season was a chance to work on a new work, and I was fortunate enough to do that with the world premier of ‘A Real Lulu,’” said Michael J. Hengels, of Neenah, Wisconsin and a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Green Bay with a B.A. in political science. Hengels was part of the rehearsal process as assistant stage manager.
Each year interns have the opportunity to learn from various staff members and actors, who share their skills and knowledge in workshops throughout the summer. “I’m very much looking forward to the intern workshops, especially the sessions which focus on moving and beginning in a new city,” said Maggie Ward, of Wausau, Wisconsin and a graduate of Lawrence University with a B.A. in theater and English.
In fact, one of the most exciting aspects of the internship is the opportunity to learn from the company’s theater professionals. “The best part about theater is that every production introduces you to new people, so there is always a chance to learn something from someone else. Peninsula Players is that, but on a larger scale; here I can meet professionals from all over and work beside them,” said Hengels.
The staff is not only an amazing resource for the interns, but through living and working together, the company becomes its own family. “I’m most looking forward to getting to know everyone who works here. I’ve been very impressed with how open and friendly everyone is,” said Clara Wendland, of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin and a graduate of St. Norbert College with a B.A. in theater studies.
“I was here for two hours and I knew that this place was a prime example of what summer theater should be: fun, safe, surrounded by talent and an opportunity to move forward both career and personal self,” says Brontë DeShong, of Rochester, New York and a graduate of Bowling Green State University with a degree in technical theater and design.
The Peninsula Players summer internship is part of a tradition that continuously brings talented theater professionals to live, work and play together for a summer. “There is a great history of talent here, and I was excited to be a part of that,” says Robin Feltman, of Kenosha, Wisconsin and currently a student at University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
Summers at Peninsula Players lead not only to valuable experience, but also life-long friendships. “I applied for this internship because I had heard over and over again that the community here could not be matched,” said Casie Morell, of Nashville, Tennessee and who is a graduate of University of Tennessee-Knoxville.
Along with the theater’s reputation, the longevity of the staff’s time here and the fondness it inspires in its members is a testament to the strong community at Peninsula Players. “You live, learn and work with people who are not only known and respected in their various fields, but who also love this place enough to return year after year to teach and work. That was something I wanted to be a part of,” says Morell.
Peninsula Players is not just a summer internship, it is a community that aims to transform all those involved. “I feel it is truly unique,” says Paulson. “As the oldest professional resident summer theater, the tradition has always been a company that does everything together. Interns learn invaluable lessons here, and they gain a new family along the way.”
The Actors’ Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers, 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 Audra Baakari Boyle at [email protected]. If you are interested in supporting the Peninsula Players Intern Program contact Danielle Szmanda at [email protected] or via phone at (920) 868-3287.