Monday, August 12, 2013

Intern Spotlight: Katherine Connolly

Back by popular demand! The 2013 Summer Intern Spotlight highlights the experiences of our three incredible summer interns. This week, recent graduate Katherine Connolly discusses her many passions and the value of being label-less.

I’m from Maryland, “The Old Line State.”  The Line is the one drawn in 1763 by Mr. Mason and Mr. Dixon,  which eventually became the division between free and slave states east of the Ohio River. And yet by the time the Civil War rolled around, Maryland was part of the Union (with some help from President Lincoln and Union forces). So much for drawing clear lines.
Over a century later,  the ambiguity remains. Maryland is too southern for the North and to northern for the South. The Tourism Bureau will tell you we’re “America in miniature,” with almost every kind of environment except a desert. Maryland is a blurred area, a melting pot of the melting pot.  The No Line State.
Why a Maryland history lesson in a post about the great work of Bond Street Theatre? Well, for those of you who know and love BST the connection shouldn’t be that hard to make. It made perfect sense to me the minute I stumbled across the BST website. Here is an organization that encompasses everything I am passionate about; a theatre that blurs lines and defies categorization. A perfect and exciting mix of traditional theatre, clowning, education, development, empowerment, healing, international collaboration, acrobatics etc. etc.

As a Maryland girl, I am comfortable with blurred lines. In June I graduated from the University of Virginia with a double major in global development studies and drama. To the theatre community I was a development person and to the GDS world I was a theatre person. Even my majors were a mix of disciplines; The drama major included technique and theory in all aspects of theatre, and GDS, an interdisciplinary program, included any class that could justifiably relate to the study of development. The highlight of my education was attempting to draw the lines between the two fields and finding ways to make those connections that BST has understood for decades.

Throughout my internship here at BST I’ve loved discovering all of the hats BST wears. My tasks as a summer intern have mirrored the diversity of BST’s work.  I’ve had the opportunity to build upon my background in political engagement in Afghanistan by providing research and programmatic support for the recent Educating the Electorate Project. I’ve contributed to the domestic focus by working with Heddy, Ilana, and Gretchen to develop marketing materials for the new YAP show, Amelia and Her Paper Tigers. Michael, Joanna, and Olivia have allowed and encouraged me to explore my interests in varied projects from assisting with grant-writing and editing, to researching potential projects in South Sudan and Arab Spring nations, to mapping out the structure of the UN. The more I work in different areas, the more I come to understand the importance of BST’s work.
So if you can’t quite figure out what category to put BST in, I would say you’ve discovered the true gem of BST’s work. This is a group of artists that redefines, bends, blurs, ignores, challenges, engages and defies lines. A no line state of cross-cultural artistic organization. BST thrives on collaboration and imagination. In a world of separation, of borders between us and them, what better approach than artistic collaboration? BST sees a future lying  in the grey areas, and this Maryland girl is honored to be a part of that work.

Katherine taught some of BST's acrobatics to her cousins during their beach vacation.

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