SCA Professional Development Coordinator, Chelsea Hunter, sat down with Daniel Arnold and Marisa Emma Smith from Alley Theatre to find out more about the company, their interest in working with students, and their sage advice for emerging artists.
CH: Tell us about Alley Theatre and the company’s philosophy in working with students.
Alley Theatre: Alley Theatre was founded in 2008 and we produce mostly new Canadian plays. We believe that non-traditional staging such as site-specific and created-space work not only enlivens theatrical experience but also attracts a new theatre-going audience, which is a primary goal of our company. We choose to work with students for so many reasons. Most students are young and young people are the future! We can learn as much from them as they can from us. We also love the forward-thinking, outside-the-box energy that youth can have, the ability to be open to experimentation and new ideas. Being a student allows people to have the freedom to fail and we love that kind of energy.
CH: From your professional experience, how do you see these internships as being beneficial to students?
Alley Theatre: Well, the classroom can only teach so much –it can’t really replace the experience of working in the professional world. Doing an internship with a professional company gives students a leg-up when it comes to landing paid gigs after school, which is a crucial time in one’s career. Also during an internship, students would be learning from veteran professionals in the industry – which is invaluable for education. Artistic Producer, Marisa Emma Smith was an intern with Neworld Theatre early in her career and years later she ended up on staff there and she is now directing her second associate production with Neworld. So you can never underestimate the connections you make in these kinds of work experiences.
CH: Can you tell us about the internship positions you have open to SFU students and how they fit within the company?