Public Relations & Marketing Intern
Purple Rose Theatre Company
Human-Computer Interaction, MSI Candidate
University of Michigan, School of Information
Ann Arbor, MI
PRTC Apprenticeship Credits:
- “The Vast Difference” by Jeff Daniels
- “Redwood Curtain” by Lanford Wilson
- “Spring Comedy Festival: Lovers, Liars and Lunatics” by Various Playwrights
- “The Last Romance” by Joe DiPietro
What or who inspired you to become an apprentice at the Purple Rose?
After graduating from the University of Michigan with a BFA in Acting as well as a dual BA in Spanish and Organizational Studies, I was looking for an opportunity to explore a career in the performing arts. I wanted to get a sense for what it was like to work in the theatre industry, as well as round out my skill set with experiences of working backstage and/or within the administrative staff of a theatre. The apprenticeship at the PRTC offered me the chance to do all of the above. And best of all, the Purple Rose was a fantastic professional theatre right in my own backyard! (I’m originally from Dexter, MI!)
What is the most useful skill or piece of knowledge you gained from your apprenticeship?
“Excellence is in the details.” From the actors on stage who come to rehearsals with their lines already memorized, to the stage managers who are ready to assist at a moment’s notice, to the administrative staff in the office planning the nuances of a successful fundraising event, everyone at the PRTC lives and works by this attitude. Observing their passion, positivity, and drive to produce the highest quality work always motivated me to do my best, and continues to do so today.
What job opportunities (theatre-related or otherwise) have you had following your apprenticeship?
After my apprenticeship, I set off on an adventure to teach English in South Korea. I taught both middle school and high school students, and on more than one occasion I found myself using improv/PRTC games in my lessons with the kids! They loved it! Now that I’m back in Michigan, I am happy to say I’ve returned to the PRTC as a part-time Public Relations and Marketing Intern while I attend graduate school.
How has your apprenticeship prepared you for/contributed to your current job?
As an apprentice at the Purple Rose, you have to be ready to jump in and do just about anything on any given day. You have to be flexible and willing to learn. My future plan is to be a User Experience (UX) Designer, someone who focuses on web design/web usability. I’ve heard from many people in this field that UX Designers have to wear many hats in their job (e.g., designer, researcher, programmer, negotiator, marketer, etc). Having already had an experience that requires and enhances such flexibility though, I’m sure I’ll be ready for the challenge!
Do you have a funny or embarrassing story from your time as an apprentice?
Oh, too many to count! One night after a show, during the evening clean-up of the kitchen area, I chose to load and run the dishwasher. I did so and promptly moved on to complete other chores. A few minutes later, though, I passed by the dishwasher and noticed a lava-like flow of soapy bubbles foaming from the sides of the machine. “Noooo!” I gasped. I quickly opened the dishwasher to stop the cycle and thought, ‘What is going on?!’ I retraced my steps and realized I had put liquid dish soap in the machine instead of the appropriate detergent. Crap. Seconds later, all the other apprenti gathered around the dishwasher and had a good laugh before helping me scoop the bubbles into the sink. I don’t really remember how the machine got fixed (probably some wizardry on the part of our technical director and resident-Mr. Fixit, Gary), but needless to say it was a long time before I was allowed to touch the dishwasher again.
Of the shows on which you worked, which one was your favorite? Why?
My first show, “The Vast Difference”, would have to be my favorite show because I was given the opportunity to understudy, in addition to my regular apprentice duties. Within the first few weeks of the show’s run I was asked to go on for a weekend, as Tom Whalen had had an unfortunate (but thankfully not-too-serious) encounter with a ladder. Luckily, I was prepared to perform off-book and successfully stepped in with the awesome support of the cast and crew. Being able to perform on the PRTC stage was both exciting and memorable. I’ll never forget it!