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Stepping Through the Lookingglass

By Nick Roman

This summer, I am honored to serve as the Administrative Intern for the Education & Community Programs department with the Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago. Day-to-day responsibilities include providing support for four different theatre education camps over the summer, drafting newsletters and performance programs, audience engagement content, and completing tasks “on the fly”- especially on camp performance days.
Lookingglass Theatre Company is a professional regional theatre in Chicago, whose shows are filled with imaginative elements including audience interaction, circus arts, and puppetry in addition to theatre, dance, and music. Recipient of the 2011 Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, Lookinglass’ brand is embedded in Chicago’s cultural landscape through their unique style and venue in the Chicago Water Works building on Michigan Avenue.

Lookingglass has 24 Ensemble Members and was founded by theatre graduates of Northwestern University in 1988. Their robust education department is transcendental to mainstage work as young actors train in the same style as Lookingglass Ensemble Members, and develop skills in physical theatre, circus arts, playwrighting, storytelling, music, and dance.

My goals for the internship are to reinforce my skill set in arts education through responsibilities in my role this summer, and gain concrete tools that support expanded experiences in cross-departmental projects with Marketing and Development. I also hope to evaluate my leadership qualities with the help of my supervisors and fellow interns, and observe business operations, especially in finance.

My capstone project is a marketing plan for the fall Education & Community Programs classes at Lookingglass. The project will consist of a scheduled e-blast of materials, targeted at
families in the Streeterville neighborhood. The project will also include analog efforts such as visits to community events to leverage the power of “word of mouth”.

Linkages to multiple courses over the past year have occurred even in the first couple weeks of my internship. Cultural Nonprofits, Business Models, and Organizational Processes have all shown up through observing the daily operations of Lookingglass. More specifically, Economics in Creative Enterprises has applied to observing financial operations and budget discussions through internship projects.