Martha-Grace Burkey ’14 interns at Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas
CentreTerm, the College’s three-week January term, is a time for students to focus intensely on a single course, study abroad, or, like senior Martha-Grace Burkey ’14, complete an internship that will further her career goals. As the arts outreach and education intern for the Paramount Theatre in Austin, Texas, Burkey’s work expanded her view of what may become a vocation.
“This experience has been enormously enriching,” Burkey says. “The Paramount staff is incredibly passionate and dedicated to the arts and their non-profit work. The theatre is a real community staple that reaches out to support, and positively influence, the educations of hundreds of students in the Austin area every year.”
Burkey explains that there are three main programs the Paramount takes to local schools.
“The Pre-Show Workshops are lessons designed to prepare students before attending matinee performances at the Paramount; Literacy to Life, a writing-based, seven-week residency in which third-grade students write short stories that are adapted into short plays and musicals and performed for the students at each school; and STEM Through the Arts, a program designed to use arts techniques such as dance, drama, music, and multi-media, to teach lessons on science, technology, engineering and math.
“I’ve been exploring, and participating in, various aspects of the Paramount’s education department,” she adds. “But for the bulk of my internship, I have been shadowing and assisting teaching artists who have classroom residencies in the Austin area. I am also writing lesson plans for the theatre to use in their STEM program and Pre-Show Workshop program.”
Burkey credits some Centre connections for helping her secure an internship with the Paramount.
“Chad Dike ’06 is my supervisor. I got the connection through my advisor, Dr. Tony Haigh (professor of dramatic arts), during a meeting where I mentioned I was interested in an arts outreach internship. Dr. Haigh set up communications between Chad and me, which led to a phone interview, and then an internship opportunity.” (Martha-Grace and Chad Dike ’06 are pictured above right)
Burkey sees this experience as a career stepping-stone.
“I would love to be a teaching artist or program designer for an arts non-profit organization, and this internship has given me a very clear picture of what that kind of work actually looks like,” Burkey says. “I have had the opportunity to interview staff members from most of the departments in the theatre, which has left me with a better understanding of how arts organizations function as a whole entity. I have discovered that I really enjoy teaching in this creative capacity and I look forward to seeing how this internship will shape the direction of my future career in the arts.”
By Cindy Long