I came in like a wrecking ball! Just kidding. I did begin my internship in the marketing department at a really great time. Things were hectic, crazy, and actually quite fun! It was during the theatre’s longest running performance – Alvin Ailey Dance Theater. What a treat! I had not seen that company since I was in high school. I fell in love all over again.
First things first, during my first week I received a semi-private, hour-long tour of the theater. It’s crazy because I have walked past the theater’s “secret door” entrance plenty of times as a student without even realizing the magic within. Of course, I can’t disclose the location to said door; that part of the mystery you will have to come and see for yourself. I’m a history lover, so the tour guide had me at hello. I was aghast that the Auditorium Theatre only became registered as a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1975. Equally astonishing is that the Auditorium, during hard times, almost became a parking lot! The building was completed in 1889 equipped with 4200 seats; the original seats are still in the upper balcony. The architecture was designed by the famous architects Dankmark Adler and Louis Sullivan. Frank Lloyd Wright was an apprentice of theirs during the building of the Auditorium. Two more history facts and I’m done, I promise. In a time of no air conditioning the Auditorium figured out a way to keep their patrons cool using air ducts and ice in the ceiling of the theater. The last fact is a direct quote from one of its founders. Sullivan said “If you want to see, you will sit in the middle, if you want to be seen you will sit in the box seats.” This retort was in response to the upper class patrons who expected to sit away from the other patrons. This perfectly summarizes a place whose ideals of inclusion are not just limited to where patrons sit, but to the variety of artists that are brought to its stage.
So what have I done here? I’ve had the pleasure of telling people about our performances in a variety of ways. My first project was to reach out to local businesses for our Alvin Ailey performances. I sent out letters, solicited eblast trades with like organizations, and made plenty of phone calls. I helped out at our Young Professionals pre-show event, where our Junior Board made appeals for membership. I was able to attend the opening of Alvin Ailey, I had never been to any show’s opening so this was thrilling! I was ecstatic that I could bring my mom and aunt to share in this experience with me. The Alvin Ailey dancers were quite simply stunning. After the show there was post work to be done. The marketing team stayed after to capture audience reactions from the show in order to upload the video to our YouTube page (I hope you are a subscriber to the channel!) Also, I created a tracking report which allowed me to analyze the tickets sold for the Ailey performances. Through this I categorized specific inventory of all the discount codes and special pricing offers. Seeing the revenue produced from the show was great, since sometimes as an intern you are removed from this sort of information. Part of the duties of being an intern is doing ad clippings. This means cutting out and filing all of the advertisements the theatre places for its shows. For the Ailey performance run, I had the additional responsibility to create a fine-tuned scan binder of all of the advertisements where our sponsors were featured.
Also during this internship I contributed ideas that were utilized for social media campaigns. I created advertising placements with a major magazine and radio station, which I was really excited about. In addition, I also tweaked copy for these opportunities. Without going into a laundry list of things I accomplished, I will say that I felt that my time here was impactful.
While here, my desk was located in the Department of Creative Engagement so I was able to hear action items important to that department as well, namely securing teachers and resources for our ArtsXchange and Hands Together, Heart to Art (HTHTA) program. Right now they are gearing up for HTHTA summer camp. Additionally, I was able to speak to the other department heads (Development and Operations) in order to achieve a more rounded internship experience. Today is my last day, sigh… but I had the opportunity to see so many wonderful performances while here. Did I mention this excellent perk? 🙂