Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Intern Spotlight: Ruby Hankey

Development Associate Ruby Hankey is a recent graduate from Drew University and proud to be a BST intern!

I am a tap dancer hailing from…well, here!  My first bed was a small dresser drawer on 2nd Avenue not too far from Bond Street Theatre’s office.  While continuing to enjoy a humble lifestyle, I dream of bigger and better things than my quaint drawer.  Specifically, I have been drawn to international travel working with Sudanese refugees in Egypt, studying French in Paris and teaching English in Greece. 

Growing up, my passions clashed between wanting to be a theatre professional and a diplomat.  A wise man said to me, Well, Ruby…you’ll do both!” -- a pipe dream to me at the time.  However, after this summer working with Bond Street Theatre, I see that theatre and humanitarian international relations really can work in tandem.  After receiving my BA in Theatre Arts from Drew University and concluding an internship with St. Ann’s Warehouse in May, I wanted to expand my knowledge of how theatre organizations operate in today’s economy and political state.  At St. Ann’s, I had an immensely valuable experience participating in a theater which brings in performers from all over the world.  However, I still had a hunger to observe a company that creates its own theater to take around the world, themselves!

Bond Street Theatre has been on my radar for years.  As many other interns have said, within five minutes of scouring BST’s website, it becomes difficult to turn away from such an admirable mission. Joanna and Michael have toured all over the world, bringing lessons, trinkets, languages, culture, art, stories, hopes and dreams from nooks and crannies of the globe: dusting off news which can often be forgotten in the western world.  They represent the melting pot this city has become: connecting a conversation of the heart and mind across continents.  I knew this was the place for me.  I feel honored to be learning from such a diverse, brave and innovative organization.

Over my three months here, Bond Street Theatre’s staff has trusted me to spearhead the research, organization and preliminary planning of a photography gallery showing for the coming year.  I have experience in event planning and individual giving, so I was willing to take on an adventure to develop a new way to showcase BST’s work domestically.  Quite an adventure it has been!  Diving in to the deep end, I have learned an entirely new program called Adobe Lightroom, looked into nearly every photo gallery in New York City and beyond, researched grants for documentary photography (and identified for myself what documentary photography actually means!), gone to free seminars and gallery opening events, sifted through 30,000 + photos from our collections, schmoozed with gallery administrators and owners, went out to tea with photography artists, learned the etiquette differences between the theatre and photography worlds, and written a how-to document outlining the process of my discoveries, developments and procedures.

Although coming in to this internship I had no knowledge of or experience with photography, focusing on this project has given me an invaluable source of knowledge and perspective for a line of humanitarian theatre work which I only knew at surface value.  This internship has opened my eyes to the possibilities of international communication, community development, and my own inventive, ‘go-get-em’ attitude.  I often get a thrill to know that I have the pleasure of working for a company that is paving the way for the future of theatre for social development.  There is not much widespread support or knowledge, overall, for the type of work Bond Street Theatre does, but it warms my heart to see and hear how many people are growing to support it fervently.   I plan to continue to be involved in this type of theatre as an individual, artist, administrator and leader.

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