A Love of Theater Through Internships

A Love of Theater Through Internships

Since Alex E., Mesner’s education director, was a young child, she had a passion for performing arts.

My father was the manager of a lumber yard, and when I was little I built a stage in my basement,” says Alex. “I never really stopped doing theater from there.”

Alex came to Kansas City a little over ten years ago to work within the local theater community. Before she came to Mesner Puppet Theater, she was working at an early education center as their artist in residence. 

Onboarding Interns With the Help of Hire KC

With a relatively small theater and having just three full-time employees, Alex turned to Hire KC to help alleviate some of the burden during last summer’s season.

“Collaborating with Hire KC was great. We are such a small organization and, while we desperately need extra hands around the theater, we don’t always have the time to devote to getting them in our doors,” says Aex. “Hire KC made it so easy for us to be a part of this program, and we were continually impressed with the prompt communication and genuine interest Hire KC has in their participant’s growth.”

Hiring Anabeth and Kyle allowed the group to delegate work that would have otherwise taken time away from focusing on bigger, more strategic planning. 

Helping Hands: Meet Anabeth and Kyle

Anabeth, a college student, served as Mesner’s education intern. She was responsible for assisting Alex during classes, which ranged from prepping projects to passing out snacks.

“There’s a lot to do during these camps. We are always cleaning, assisting with hot glue, or helping students process ideas, all of which Anabeth helped do as well,” Alex explains.  “Toward the end of the summer camps, Anabeth took on the task of leading her own activity. She created a lesson plan, prepped the materials, and implemented the activity all on her own. It was great to see the evolution of duties – going from assisting my needs to Anabeth spearheading her own project without my help.”

Kyle, a high school student, was their artistic intern and focused on several tasks, including creating designs for the Little Prince, which was performed at the planetarium, and designing some puppets that we used for the Nelson-Atkins’ Annual Big Picnic.

“Kyle thrived with everything we gave him,” says Alex.

“I think it was hugely impactful for him to take his existing passion and artistic skills, and have opportunities to explore it in a professional setting.”

Overall, Alex had a great experience with both interns and learned a few things herself in the process.

“The interns were ready to do whatever we asked. It was great to have younger people around who have gusto for trying new things and jumping in to the thick of the fun,” says Alex. “Not only was it a huge help for us, but it was great to see different perspectives being brought into the theater.

Biggest Benefits of Interning

Internships are a valuable opportunity, whether a student is learning what it’s like to be in a professional setting for the first time, or learning whether or not a particular internship is something the student wants to pursue in their future career.

“I think the internship benefits the young participants in multiple ways,” says Alex. “It helps dip their feet into the workforce waters, and it allows them to make mistakes in a safer, more understanding environment in hopes that they won’t make the same mistakes once they get out in the real world. 

“I was never an intern, though as an adult I see the immeasurable benefits of participating in one. If only I could go back and have some of the experiences these kids did when I was their age.”

Setting Sights on Future Interns

Having experienced the success and benefit from bringing Anabeth and Kyle onto the team, Alex has hired other interns and looks forward to more intern experiences.

“We do have interns from UMKC who help us with the production side of things, and I would love for us to continue the relationship with Hire KC so we can keep having education interns,” she says. “I would like to create a more intentional growth plan for these interns, so hopefully the interns see and feel the growth within them. And, by the end of the summer, really feel like they have expanded their skillsets and comfort levels.”

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