In 2011 Mind the Gap hosted an internship with New York theatre-maker Katy Rubin. Katy is the Founding Artistic Director of Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, here she tell us why her internship was so successful.
Each year we get a lot of requests from students, practitioners and researchers who want to learn from us about the work we do in disability related theatre. We work really hard to accommodate these requests though understandably we are not always able to do so. Here we tell you why Katy’s placement worked so well.
I managed to establish a good communication with Mind the Gap right from the start. I was able to secure funding from a US foundation called The Theatre Communications Group, which meant there was no financial impact on Mind the Gap. I was mindful to offer some clear guidance about what I wanted to get out of the opportunity and was able to offer my experiences in return. Mind the Gap provided a plan of activity and organized my accommodation, which was paid for though my intern funds.
It’s been fantastically useful placement. There are several parts of theatre that I hadn’t come across before. The first is the art that Mind the Gap make and the emphasis on quality. I loved the show ‘Stig of the Dump’ and the set blew me away! Part of making quality art is thinking about the whole process. I’m curious about the process of making a production and how it all comes together.
I was also really excited by the training and the wholeness of the approach. I liked the way that there is unison between Acting Company and Making Theatre. You can see how seriously Making Theatre take their training.
The other parts were having great conversations and hearing from everyone about making the work happen and learning how they have built upon their knowledge. For example I spoke to the Business Development Manager about her approach, when tackling corporate relations and the ethics of that. The whole experience was really interesting, particularly learning about how the arts and culture sector works in the UK.
I particularly loved how everyone is full of goodwill towards everyone else here.
The best experiences are where there is a real exchange of skills, knowledge and experience. Where the person knows what they want and knows what they have to offer. Where there is real support from the educational establishment or foundation. We want to do our bit to support the development of aspiring arts practitioners. We really hope that first meetings can develop into lasting relationships.
We see many requests that begin ‘Dear Sir/Madam I am really interested in your company. I believe I have a lot to offer you…’ and it feels really disappointing when you get that kind of approach. Mind the Gap has a wealth of experience and we are happy to share. We happily welcome people in and hope they benefit from our experience. We are also open to learning. A good internship should be well researched and two-way. It’s all about dialogue.