Internships and Senior Projects
Joel Schindelbeck as the Cook in MOTHER COURAGE, 2002
studies in an independent and individual manner. The Senior Project normally takes the form of a major production assignment such as directing lighting, playwriting, or acting; while internships focus upon production technology and arts management within the context of a professional theatre organization. Students may do both an internship and a senior project, or more than one internship, depending upon their study plans and time-in-residence at the University.
Internships in recent years have included management positions with the Mason Street Warehouse in Saugatuck or the Circle Theatre in Grand Rapids; or even summer entertainment internships with Disney World in Florida. Typical senior projects have taken the form of directing or designing one-act plays, producing the annual program of student one-act plays, acting a leading role in a faculty-directed production, or writing a critical research paper on some aspect of theatre arts.
Both these activities require careful planning on the student's part during the junior year. You should locate and arrange internships several months in advance, after consulting with your academic advisor. Senior projects need to be scheduled before the academic year begins to ensure that your advisor is aware of the activity and that facilities are available.
Internships can carry as much as six semester credits on your course schedule, depending on the amount of time spent with the sponsoring organization; senior projects normally carry no more than three semester credits. If you wish to relocate to another city for a semester to pursue an internship, you should plan to take one additional semester to graduate; obviously, this is most conveniently done during the summer months.
Both these activities should provide a professional "cap" on the theatre student's undergraduate career, either by introducing you to "the business of show business" (the internship), or by allowing you to examine a major field of interest in some area of theatre
Michael Empson & Suzie Block in A FLEAIN HER EAR, 2004
Following completion of the internship experience, you will be expected to submit a written report of your activities to your faculty advisor outlining the work you did and evaluating the experience.