Imagine Juilliard as a Rubik’s cube. Its many colors are the faculty and staff, the thousands of possible moves and combinations are its students, and the people trying to figure out the puzzle are the interns.
I feel blessed to have been one of the lucky 28 in this year’s Professional Intern program under the guidance of its director, Helen Taynton. Not only are my intern comrades a varied, lovely bunch, but the community we have been thrown into has greeted us with open arms from day one. Some of you may not have much contact with us, but rest assured, you have seen us on the elevator or in the cafeteria—we have the weary faces and ramshackle appearance of people trying to squeeze everything they possibly can out of an experience. We are from far-flung regions of the country plus Australia and the U.K., and the offices we call home are also far-reaching: props, costumes, vocal arts administration, and orchestral management, to name a few. Thankfully, Juilliard being the hive of activity that it is, there is much cross-pollination among departments and so not only do we get to work with each other, we get to learn from each other.
I am lucky enough to be one of two administrative interns in the Drama Division, along with Dan Brennan, under the supervision of Jim Houghton, Kathy Hood (herself a former Juilliard intern), and the rest of the department. On our first nerve-wracking day, we were shown our desks and our responsibilities were laid out for us. Happily, I can say that as the year has progressed, not only have we been able to fulfill our responsibilities, we’ve also been able to add to them. Along with Web site maintenance, ticket management, creating flyers, and assisting in the organization of major events and educational outreach trips (not to mention auditions for 1,400 people!), I have been able to spend time in the Development Office, sit in on classes, and join design presentations from various production departments. With my future aim of starting a theater company in mind, these experiences have been invaluable. And while some of the lessons I’ve learned might seem incredibly boring—like issuing contracts and how to do a mail merge—I wouldn’t have learned them otherwise, and I know they’ll be very valuable down the line. Part of the magic of a Juilliard internship is that if you have an interest in a subject or want to become involved in something, doors are opened for you.
But the best thing about my internship is, without a doubt, the people. I greatly enjoy the movement in and out of our office and the faculty members, a many-splendored bunch, are uniformly kind and varied in personality. Some mundaneness is inevitable in an administrative internship—I sit at my desk and answer the telephone, spouting the same refrain again and again like one of our students in a practice room down the hall working a bar of music or a monologue until it comes naturally. But I can almost guarantee that the voice or request on the other end of the line will be far from mundane. I enjoy walking around the building every day, greeting friends and making new ones. It seems as though everyone in our Juilliard microcosm, whether it’s the provost or a member of the security staff, has a passion for and active interest in the arts. This shared interest has built a beautiful foundation for a community, one that I am very grateful to have been a part of, if only for a short while. Juilliard really is an arts atmosphere sui generis—so welcoming, so warm, so accomplished.
If I may be so bold as to speak on behalf of the interns of 2011-12, I would like to say, we are grateful. Not only for the wonderful experiences, friendships, and connections we have gained, but the many tools we have picked up along the way to continue solving life’s puzzles. Wish us luck.