Friday, June 7, 2013

Baltimore Theater Project


My name is Mia Fiorentino, and I am a senior Painting major with a concentration in Theatre. This past semester I was lucky enough to secure an internship with the Baltimore Theatre Project on Preston Street. I have attended a few performances there and always kept the Theatre Project in the back of my mind as a place to check out when the time came to look for an internship. I have become very involved in MICA theatre, and last year I was head of props for our two productions. After this experience, I thought I should do my best to acquire a wellrounded education in how a theatre works. I applied by sending in a resume and cover letter to Chris Pfingsten, the General Manager, and over the summer I had an interview with him and Anne Cantler Fulwiler, the Producing Director of the Theatre Project.  I was given the position right at my interview.

Baltimore Theatre Project is a nonprofit organization that hosts local and international artists of experimental theatre, dance, and music. Its mission is to provide a nurturing atmosphere and a space for artists to grow, and I think that it really achieves that through its diversity of acts, and the feedback I’ve heard from various people who have performed there. My supervisor is Chris Pfingsten, and since the summer he has been promoted from General Manager to Producing Director of the space. He essentially runs the theatre himself, he “runs the company, books acts, does marketing, financing, raises money, does contracts for artists and staff, and takes out the trash” (paraphrased from his own words.)


I have had varying responsibilities within the Theatre Project. I have spent a lot of time running the box office and concessions for several performances; I have had maintenance and managerial duties such as cleaning and maintaining the building, and locking up the building after performances; I have taken part in administrative work like writing and addressing letters to donors to raise money or thank them for contributions; and I have also done some technical theatre work under the Technical Director, Mike Vandercook. I shadowed him while he ran the lighting board during performance, aided with the focusing of lights for the most recent show, “The Grand Parade of the Twentieth Century,” and I also helped every once in a while with preparing set pieces for shows.

I am most proud of the connections I have made with performers and members of groups that have come through the theatre in my time there. I am proud of the fact that I can say I was a part of making their productions run smoothly, even if my role seemed small at the time. The most important thing I have learned is that everything I have done in the space is all part of what allows a theatre to run; and that even when what I was doing could seem tedious or like grunt work, the more flexible and versatile of a worker you are, the more valuable you are. My supervisor is a great example of willingness to take care of little tasks (like changing out the toilet paper) in order to allow the theatre as a whole to run smoothly and turn out great productions. I could definitely see myself in a career working at a theatre. I am trained as a painter, and I would love to be a studio artist, but working in a theatre in any kind of capacity would feed my love for drama and other art forms while I also work to hone my painting craft.