Jacob Holland: Summer Production Intern at Red Curtain Theatre

Theatre Through Interdisciplinarity: An Artistic Vision

This August I was fortunate enough to be awarded a TAG grant to work as an intern for my local theatre. Red Curtain Theatre has become a family of mine, a network of individuals I will keep along my journey forever thanks to this opportunity. I was asked to assistant direct a musical, Once on This Island, and build the set design for the major summer production, Singin’ in the Rain. With hundreds of audience members every performance, it was touching to see how audiences connected to my decisions as an artist: whether that be the direction I provided young actors, or the construction techniques I used to build the set.
This experience did have its challenges. First, I assistant-directed a children’s show. I do not think anyone can adequately be prepared for the craziness that ensues a kids’ production. Nonetheless, I had a blast bonding with children exploring the theatre and artistic outlets that I had come to love. There is something truly radiant about children exploring the theatre and creating bonds with one another that will last a lifetime. I got to work with and coach students one on one to hone their acting skills. I truly used my skills and knowledge to live beyond myself, and help craft so many young scholars who viewed theatre not as merely a place to perform, but a place to convey a call to action for the audience.
The musical I assisted with was very successfully. In fact, many of the kids ended up “loving Mr. Jacob!” A few weeks later, the theatre asked me to direct my own musical this spring, which I accepted. (I cannot yet say what show I was asked to direct). It was clear that this position was a natural fit for me after this internship opportunity.
The next show I worked on this summer was Singin’ in the Rain. Not only was I in the show as a dancer, but I constructed the set. Anyone who has been in a show before knows that the set is one of the hardest and most vital tasks in a show: especially a show where rain has to be simulated on stage. I learned so many technical skills that I will need to know as a director. From making spreadsheets for sign in to using a hot knife to apply bricking to foam flats, I stepped outside of my own comfort zone. I really engaged in self-authorship, creating my own set design as well as my own summer story in these musicals.
My favorite part of the summer internship was watching the set come alive on stage. Hanging all of the pieces, painting them to look perfect, and applying hot knife technique to create texture that created a realistic image of the city were very difficult tasks. However, when the performers took foot on the stage I had created, hearing their gasps was the most rewarding part of the experience. Hanging 20 foot foam pieces from the batons of the theatre, I never imagined that I would get to design, construct, and create an image so beautiful.