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Growing in the Competitive Field of Theater

Last Updated on October 18, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Originally published October 18, 2017

By Jesus Lopez

Senior Theatre Arts Major

As an international student from Mexico, the fact that I had the opportunity to travel all the way to Massachusetts to work in the industry that I love and gain professional experience at such a young age is still an incredibly satisfying and fulfilling surprise. This trip has allowed me to put all my skills to the test and use all my knowledge from school and past gigs to get through the day. I probably could describe this internship as a very intensive summer course, or a series of real-life trials to prove to myself that I can be who I want to be.

Jesus Lopez
Jesus Lopez

Being a stage manager means that you oversee all communication and organization of a theatrical production that includes dealing with performers, directors, designers, technicians, choreographers, and others, and unifying everybody’s vision and hard work to create the best possible product on stage. 

You can learn about the necessary skills to do this job correctly from a book or a professor, but you cannot fully understand the job until you have experienced it in the real world. Thanks to this opportunity, I have been able to grow in my vocation, my art form, and as an individual in a very competitive business. I met so many amazing people who taught me about the business. 

Being a minority plays a big part of this experience, too. I lived in a home with about 14 other artists, most of whom are of Anglo decent and who were unfamiliar with Mexicans. For some of them, I was the first Hispanic they had gotten to know. This experience has taught me so much about being proud of who I am and where I came from, and to not be afraid to share my story. Here, in this small, privileged Massachusetts town, I felt as if I not only represented myself, but everyone from El Paso. I worked twice as hard as everybody else and kept up the good spirits even after long days of work by sharing who I am. 

This internship also allowed me to work on my other talents as a poet and photographer. The different vistas inspired me. For the past three years, I have taken pictures in the desert, but here I was able to photograph my models in water! The varied and beautiful sceneries allowed me to play around with my concepts and composition. My portfolio expanded by the day, all while still working and getting paid. 

My biggest tip for anyone who plans to be an intern is to socialize, manage your time, but say yes to as many opportunities as possible, and showcase your abilities. Make a good impression. Sell yourself by doing something memorable.

Internships are opportunities to show yourself and those around you of your capabilities. It is proof that all that hard work, energy and money spent at school was worthwhile.