Alana Tomlin (BA English with Creative Writing, 3rd year)

The Chicago Shakespeare Theatre education internship, Chicago, USA, through Global Challenge

Details of duties / responsibilities / activities

Alana was given a lot of responsibility within the first week at the small education department at the Theatre. Her duties included:

Chicago skyline
  • preparing student and teacher workshops which involved basic administration skills and time management
  • organising and taking part in the workshops
  • working as part of a team, working with students and teachers
  • editing, researching and writing teaching materials to be published online

Main achievements

Alana felt her main achievement was throwing herself into the theatre workshops with the student/teacher ensemble, as "it really helped build meaningful relationships with the theatre and helped team building." Alana never thought she would have the confidence to do acting exercises in front of a lot of people.

Alana also felt proud of her achievement in "updating and creating an entire teacher handbook" as the project was self led. Alana updated some of the primary sections of the handbook which she hopes will be implemented in future handbooks. She also created a timeline to be included in the programme for the play ‘Henry V’.

Most enjoyable part of the internship

The Chicago Shakespeare Theatre

Alana felt the most enjoyable part of the internship was during her first few weeks spent with the CPS (Chicago Public School) teachers as she "really enjoyed learning all about the politics of education policy in Chicago and the difficulties faced."

During her internship Alana experienced the innovative teaching techniques of the CST’s education department and how it not only filled the teachers with new ideas but also with confidence to face the difficult times ahead with budget cuts and curriculum changes.

Alana also "loved exploring Chicago at the weekends and making new friends abroad. The travelling aspects of the internship were definitely a highlight."

Skills developed

Alana has developed critical thinking and key team building skills through working in such a small, tight-knit team under pressure and her interpersonal and communication skills have developed in a professional way. Alana says this is definitely so within an office environment "where you must be polite and energetic all of the time."

How this will benefit me in the future

Alana Tomlin

Alana feels that the internship has already benefitted her as she secured a place on the University of Birmingham Cultural Internship Scheme whilst interning at the theatre. She says: "I got the job because I was able to talk about the industry and my experiences that I was having there and then. This communicated specified industry knowledge and an energy that was produced through Global Challenge."

The internship has helped Alana launch a career in theatre and arts education. Alana believes that the writing and editing part of the internship puts her in a good position to gain further internships, or even work, in publishing, and most specifically academic publishing.

Demonstrating her independence, Alana says that "working and living alone in a different country will really help with any job application due to companies being more and more globally aware and focused."

Posted on Tuesday 22nd October 2013