Each summer, Barksdale offers a limited number of administrative internships to university students. These positions allow theatre majors to get hands-on experience in the day to day operation of a professional theatre. They also provide Barksdale with enthusiastic helping hands and some fresh ideas. (More information about interning with Barksdale is available on our website.) Tamika Sayles from Longwood University has been an intern in our Marketing Department this summer, and this is her account of the experience...
By Tamika Sayles
Whenever I walk through Barksdale Theatre I see family, friends and people with whom I feel like I’ve spent my entire life instead of only eight short weeks. Interning at Barksdale has been the greatest experience in my life. Little did I know I would actually be good at marketing or better yet box office sales. I’ve always been an actor at heart - still am - but it was interesting to finally see the fundamentals of what goes on behind the stage and to find that I now consider it my career goal for the future.
When my professor at Longwood University first told me about the Arts Administration program I didn’t quite know what to think. I was the only theatre student majoring in both business and theatre, an oddity in nature, but none the less driven. I took Dr. Gene Muto’s advice and gave it a shot. A year or so later I decided that maybe this was the time to test this new major; when the interning position became available I jumped on the opportunity, not fully comprehending the true expectations, but thinking maybe it was a start in one direction or other. Couldn’t hurt to try, could it?
When I heard I had gotten the internship at Barksdale I remember feeling excited yet worried about being in corporate America. Heaven only knows why I thought it would be like corporate America. My mind got the best of me, but as the days went on I began to develop a new interest in marketing and design, and I asked Sara Marsden, Barksdale’s Marketing Director, to teach me everything she knew about designing posters. This led into an entirely new direction to my studies, and soon I began to decipher the variations of marketing designs, deciding what worked and what didn’t.
I started experimenting with a design program called Abode InDesign, which wasn’t easy. I’ve been working with computers since I was in the sixth grade, and there were moments where even I was stumped. Day after day, I practiced and came up with new ways of creating different designs to everyone’s liking. Then one day Sara told me about a website needing a logo. The site was RichmondVATheater.com, and I was more than eager to create one for them. I remember barely sleeping that night contemplating new ideas and colors, and I was even more excited to finally see it posted on their website with a shout out to me and my college.
This is my last week at Barksdale, and who knows what direction life will really take me. One thing is certain though; I will never forget the friends I’ve made at Barksdale Theatre, and I want to say thank you to the Marketing Department, Box Office and all the great staff I’ve worked with for the past eight weeks for making this an extra special opportunity for me.