Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In the beginning...

Hey, thanks for coming to check out my blog. Welcome to the first entry.

My name’s JR and I’m the Marketing/Press intern at the Capital Fringe Festival. I’m currently in between my first and second year of the Arts Management program at American University. Before I get to the internship and the Capital Fringe Festival, here’s how I ended up there, so apologies as this entry won’t be as Internship-centric as the rest will be.

I’m from DC, born and raised. I was a Dance major at the University of Maryland and have been working in the Performing Arts sector in the area for the past several years. Not only have I been performing and teaching (the last performance I was in was Underground, with David Dorfman Dance), but I had steadily gotten more involved in the production side of things, culminating in a job as Production Manager at Adventure Theatre for most of 2008.

It was as I started in my position at Adventure Theatre (the longest running children’s theatre in the Washington area), that I realized I was ready and actually willing to go back to school. I’d already heard about AU’s program, particularly as one of the oldest and best Arts Management programs in the country, from various colleagues and mentors. Honestly, I’m still not quite sure what I want to do when I graduate next year, but I figured the degree would give me the most options with doing anything I might want to do in the future, whether it be a year or a decade down the line. I will say ultimately I’m going to start my own production company, and this is part of why my path led me to the Capital Fringe Festival.

So there were three organizations I had as my top choices, with regards to where I would like to intern. One was the Capital Fringe Festival, another was Americans for the Arts, and the third was Woolly Mammoth Theatre. I would’ve been happy with any three, but what ultimately drew me Capital Fringe was something that happened purely circumstantially.

I was actually at Woolly Mammoth one night to see a production of How Theatre Failed America, written and performed by Mike Daisey, and I stayed after to watch a panel discussion that’d been set up, with theatre professionals in the area, and would be moderated by Mike Daisey himself to discuss the state of the theatre. The Executive Director of the Capital Fringe Festival, Julianne Brienza, was on one of these panels. Now I’d already been in touch with her via email regarding an internship with Capital Fringe, but after the panel discussion and listening to her speak I knew which organization I wanted to work with.

Other than Julianne, part of what drew my to Capital Fringe is that it’s still a fresh organization. Founded in 2005, it’s only going into its fourth year of putting on the summer festival. Another aspect of Capital Fringe is what is at the essence of most Fringe Festivals. It is a festival geared towards being able to give creative artists and performers a chance to premiere new and, at times, unconventional work, while providing audiences low-cost tickets to these performances (each show at Capital Fringe is $15). If you’re interested in learning more about the Fringe ethos and movement, you could start by checking out the one that started it all, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. One final element I’ve come to learn about the Capital Fringe Festival, which really brings it back to my own aspiration to start a production company, is that it really mentors every participant to be a self-producing artist.

Now, as I said, the Capital Fringe is only in its fourth year. When I contacted Julianne, while there’d been interns before, there wasn’t a specific internship for me to apply to and show up for. So she and I created an internship position for me, which became the Marketing/Press Internship. This was based out of the interests I listed, particularly skills I wanted to develop, matched with what needed to be done leading up to the festival and throughout the end of it. And that’s how I ended up as an Intern at the Capital Fringe Festival.

I guess I’ll leave it at that. Hope I didn’t ramble too much. Just wanted to give you the abridged version of my life and certain events which led up to this Internship.

Until next week,


Next Week:
Capital Fringe Button Discounts, my role with them, and how the Capital Fringe Festival has worked with local establishments and organizations to encourage our audience members to support them.