Monday, July 23, 2012

Intern Spotlight: Darielle Shandler

This summer, our wonderful BST interns are blogging about their experiences in the New York office. Darielle Shandler, our Arts Administration intern from Drew University, writes this week about her experience.

Darielle steps out as a BST intern!
This is the story of how I started working for Bond Street Theatre. I grew up in a small town in the south and always wanted to work in the bustling metropolis of Manhattan. This summer I finally had the opportuity to apply for internships in the city I have loved from afar for so long. When I was hired at Bond Street, I couldn't believe I would get to work among the people who use theatre in such wonderful healing ways. Once the summer hit, I made the long journey from home to find my place in New York City. I explored the crisscrossed streets until I reached Bond Street and Broadway. Behind the unassuming store front there is a mountain of stairs to climb - even the most fit of us might loose their breath - but it doesn't matter once you reach the top. A small sign greets you with a request to remove your shoes. Strange to me at first, but it immediately set a tone of comfort and ease that permeates throughout the Bond Street offices. Stepping, barefoot, into the airy sunlit loft, you can't help but feel at home. The floors are covered in rugs from Afghanistan and the walls are covered in maps and pictures from trips around the world.

As I step further into the room I am greeted by the those who make Bond Street run so smoothly. First, Olivia, Queen of Communications, welcomes me to the office. A young beautiful grad student, she always has answers to my questions and is the person I turn to for my next assignment. She tweets, blogs, and posts, making sure the inter-webs know of the work Bond Street is doing thousands of miles away. I most closely connect with the work she is doing because marketing is the area of theatre business I am most interested in. Next, Joanna, her majesty the Artistic director, looks up from her work. A petite woman with voluminous red hair, clad in a simple dress, she wishes me a good morning. Throughout the day, she lets us in on the news from around the world, all while making sure the grant reports are written and updated. I am in awe of her because she has been a part of the company since the very beginning and she knows all of the ins and outs of what Bond Street does. Finally, Michael, the Lord of Numbers and Technology, swivels around in his chair to wave hello. He is hidden in his alcove of books and double screened computers. He is perched, contorted, on the little wooden chair, every once in awhile ruffling his fluffy gray hair while pouring over the numbers and budgets that keep Bond Street up and running. I like working with Michael because he knows so much about design and editing programs and I feel as if I can always learn something from him.

Darielle stands tall at her second stilt
walking lesson with Michael.
Every day, I work hard to help Joanna, Michael, Olivia, and Bond Street accomplish anything they need. I am ecstatic because working here isn't like any other internship, filled with fetching coffee and organizing files. I feel like a real part of the business - complete with my own email address and bio on the website. I am doing work that I really enjoy; using my skills of design and video production to help with development. From one day to the next, there are many different things I do. One day I help edit quarterly reports and then help to design a postcard to hand out at Stilt Band events. The next day I edit footage from Bond Street's work in Afghanistan to make DVDs to give to their sponsors. I am having so much fun because I can take the time to learn new programs that I can combine with the skills I already have. For example, I have always wanted to learn Photoshop because it would fit in nicely with my other design skills. Bond Street sent me to a Photoshop workshop which helped me help them! They are also teaching me how to walk on stilts. I had watched them perform but never thought I would be able to do it myself. But after only two sessions I am able to walk around on my own. Now the idea of maybe one day walking with them in a parade doesn't seem so impossible anymore. Never in a million years did I think I would learn a crazy skill like that.

My internship has been a strange and wonderful dichotomy of interactions. On one hand, I am helping to finish projects so they have time for other things. I love to think a video I create will be used for a grant, or the sign I designed was actually used for their Shinbone Alley Stilt Band costumes. Then on the other hand, while I am working I am learning more and more about all of the amazing work they do on both sides of the Atlantic, from working with orphans in Guatemala to teaching women in Afghanistan to playing music on stilts right here in the five boroughs. I am seamlessly learning specifically about Bond Street Theatre and learning how a not-for-profit theatre business functions. Just like the child who eventually learns that there's more to Manhattan than the flashing lights of Times Square, being a Bond Street intern I have learned that there's more to running a theatre company than just putting on productions. There are grants to write and board meetings to attend. Yet you don't have to choose. Yes, Michael is the Managing Director, but he is also a performer and educator as well. There are pictures of when some of the board members were a part of the ensemble and clowned around and stilt walked. It baffles me that Bond Street Theatre is this amazing community of people all working in different capacities from places all over the world for a common goal. As I leave the office each day to slip my shoes back on and descend the stairs, I smile at the thought of being a part of a theatre that doesn't just entertain, but educates and bridges cultures while doing it.

4 members of the BST family: Michael, Heddy, Darielle and Charlotte!

1 comment:

Lisa Brenner said...

Thanks for this and for your work!