Maura Lohan is Gulfshore Playhouse’s Theatre Administration Intern.
About a month ago, at a late hour I likely shouldn’t have been in the office, I thanked Kristen Coury for taking my opinions to heart. As an administrative intern at Gulfshore Playhouse, I have jumped on the bandwagon of wearing many hats with my duties in the office ranging from managing social media campaigns (including this blog), to performing front of house duties on show nights, to dancing to Thriller on 5th Avenue. I am no stranger to internships. In fact, my position at Gulfshore Playhouse marks my 4thinternship in as many years. These internships have all been with very different companies, but until now they all seemed to have a running theme: the intern is at the bottom of the totem pole and doesn’t have many chances to make a meaningful difference with an organization. At Gulfshore Playhouse, my experience over the last few months has been quite the opposite.
From day one, I have been sitting at a desk practically in the center of the GP administrative office where nine of us work on a daily basis. For many, this environment may be intimidating to walk into as there are usually multiple conversations happening at once. While, that intimidation factor may have existed to start with, now I can’t imagine going back to a place where you see an organization’s management team only at staff meetings. With this office’s atmosphere there is no denying that everyone from interns and volunteers to the founder and board of directors can make a meaningful difference.
With prior experiences working in a ‘presenting house’, where touring shows or other productions would come to a theatre for a few nights at a time, I was very excited to learn more about a producing theatre like GP. As soon as I expressed interest, despite it not technically being a part of my job, I was added to the load-in crew. As a bit of a self-proclaimed klutz, I was nervous about the possibility of using power tools for my own good and the good of the set. But, other than a few small mishaps (very small, I promise!) I think I did really well. It was a great feeling to physically put the set on the stage and see the theatre transform from a blank space to a Brooklyn living room or a minimalist apartment in Paris.
This is not to say that my next job will be as a carpenter, I think I am much better suited at a desk brainstorming how to fill the seats of a theater or interacting with patrons. But, this experience on top of countless others Gulfshore Playhouse has given me is preparing me for whatever that next step is because not only is this theatre company dedicated to high-quality productions, but also the development of well-rounded arts professionals. And I couldn’t be more thankful for that.