Student Success

Vertigo Theatre internships provide real-world experience for U of L fine arts students

Real-world experience, professional development and course credit are just a few of the benefits that three University of Lethbridge Dramatic Arts students received by participating in Calgary’s Vertigo Theatre internship program over the past two months.

Rebecca Fauser and Lyall Miller worked as general interns at Vertigo, rotating between different departments including marketing, production, administration and development, while Kate Pallesen was the intern stage manager for The Drowning Girls, the final production of the season.

Rebecca Fauser, Lyall Miller and Kate Pallesen at Vertigo Theatre in Calgary.

“We completed a wide range of tasks, from stamping envelopes to helping put together elements of the show,” says Miller. “We received a broad overview of what each department does, and insight into the practical day-to-day operations of a professional theatre company.”

“We also learned about the artistic process of members in the company,” adds Fauser. “Through hands-on experience and meaningful conversations with the staff, we have gained a better understanding of theatre as a profession.”

Pallesen worked six days a week for two months with the stage management team.

“My role mostly consisted of being a second assistant stage manager (ASM),” says Pallesen. “I had the opportunity to observe the roles of people involved in the production, in the rehearsal hall or on stage and discuss any questions about the process with the other ASM and stage manager.”

“Most valuable was the opportunity to meet and talk with everyone at Vertigo,” continues Miller. “They are wonderful, bright and welcoming with a wide range of talents, as well as theatre and business experience. I feel like we learned a lot from these conversations, and a new perspective on art and theatre.”

Coordinated by Gail Hanrahan (drama), the Vertigo Theatre Internship started in 2016, and U of L students have been so well received they continue to bring back more students than originally intended.

“Officially, the internship is for two students,” explains Hanrahan. “One is paid by Vertigo, and one by the Faculty of Fine Arts. However, they have loved our students so much they’ve taken on three, paying two. Students are contracted for six to eight weeks to work on the final show of the season. Preference is given to senior students in their third or fourth year.”

To apply for the opportunity, students submit a resume and letter of intent. Hanrahan short-listed the candidates and provided feedback on their applications before submitting to Vertigo Theatre. After phone and Skype interviews, the lucky candidates were selected. Students enrolled in a class to receive course credit for their work.

“I had enough classes to graduate at that point, but I decided the experience would be worth it,” says Miller.