Melissa Stockton-Brown on the job, assisting an actor
in the dressing room.
Major: Theater and (self-designed major)
Praxis internship: Literary, educational
and arts administration, and casting with Phildelphia
What are your job responsibilities?
My responsibilities vary from
week to week and even day to day. An important part of my
job is recognizing what needs to be done and then stepping
up and doing it. I am often the preliminary filter for a
department--reading plays for the next season, sifting through
headshots, sitting in on auditions, etc.--and deciding what
is worthy of passing on for my supervisor's consideration.
What are your living
I live with my mother and sisters.
Describe the physical
surroundings where you work.
Again, this varies from day
to day. Sometimes I am in a typical office setting, but more
often than not I am in a nontraditional work location. Often
I am working backstage in the main theater (during their
production of Grey Gardens), outside (or maybe at
a coffee shop) when we hold meetings that could not comfortably
fit in the office, in the studio working on the summer camp,
or in a corporate party setting for opening/closing night
galas and special events (such as the Literary Managers Association's
Talk about the people
you work with.
I work with different kinds
of people depending on the day. Generally I work under the
head of the department into which that particular project
falls (I work under the heads of education, literary, casting,
and production). I also work as a peer with Equity actors
and stage management, a few other interns, and alongside
the managers of other local theaters during casting sessions.
What is your typical
I don't know that I have a "typical
day." If I am in the office or teaching I
am usually on the bus by 8 a.m. (dressed in some version
"business casual"--attempting to fit in with the
other people in the office who are far more stylish than
I am--or jeans and sneakers for teaching). I'll read scripts
or pretend to be an elephant all day (in a teaching context,
I promise). What I anticipate to be an office day often winds
up something very different (getting sent to auditions or
to help the dressers during a show). I always try to keep
a set of black clothes and some food at the theater because
I never know when I will wind up working there for 12 hours
straight. Some days I make it home by 5 p.m., other days
not until 1 a.m. If there is one thing this job is not lacking,
it is variety.
What do you like most
about your internship?
What I like most about my internship
is PTC's flexibility. They always make sure I am on track
with what I want to learn. When I first arrived
I wasn't scheduled to work in casting, but with time it became
clear to me that this would be a valuable experience. I
simply approached the casting director about this and I was
scheduled to work in her department by the next day. Also,
women are in positions of leadership in theater, at
PTC most of the managers and department heads are women.
What are you learning
from this internship?
I am learning all the
little details aboout theater and arts administration that
I couldn't pick up in the liberal arts setting: how to run
an Equity audition, put together a union versus non-union
contract, select and acquire the rights for a season, etc.
I will take with me new confidence--confidence that I have
both the academic and logistical knowledge to speak with