To say this summer flew by would be a vast understatement. Though my time at the Auditorium Theatre was short-lived, I can honestly say that I have never enjoyed myself more while getting the hands-on experience of arts administration in the marketing realm. Not only has this internship made what I’ve learned in classes relevant while extending my knowledge past the books, but it also made me grow on a professional and personal level.
Putting the work-load aside for a moment, the history of the Auditorium Theatre is incredible. As the largest theatre in Chicago and one that will be celebrating its 125th Anniversary this December, the Auditorium Theatre is unlike any other around. I was lucky enough to learn the history very fast by not only attending one of the two weekly tours that Patron Services hosts, but also creating my first internship project: a historical timeline in PowerPoint for a Press Tour Conference.
Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler, the dynamic and famous architectural partnership, both brought their unique brilliance together to create Chicago’s Landmark Stage™, which originally opened in 1889. On the press tour, I was educated at how acoustically sound the theatre is. Christina Bourné, the Director of Education as well as a beautiful soprano voice, sang “Home Sweet Home” from the stage, which was the same song that Adelina Patti sang on opening night. Without a microphone and with all of the press on the 6th floor gallery, every word that she sung was heard without confusion. It was INCREDIBLE!
Aside from being acoustically sound, the theatre has an endless amount of unique features like being the first theatre with air conditioning, using 3,500 electric incandescent light bulbs, the decorative golden arches, politically-positioned boxes, and a lot more! From being a hotel and office to a bowling alley to a World War II servicemen’s center to closing down and being reopened, the Auditorium Theatre’s history is a rich one. The stage has seen array of different artists ranging from Broadway tours to premier ballet companies to rock stars such as Bob Marley, Bruce Springsteen and most recently Jack White. Being surrounded by something so beautiful with an extensive historical story is sort of an overwhelming feeling and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to market such a wonderful place.
If I were to explain everything I learned and took part in throughout this experience, you would be reading this blog for quite a few hours. Instead, I will share some of the highlights of my time here. The most prominent responsibility that comes to mind was social media. I monitored and engaged consumers on multiple different social networking platforms, input a social media plan into the calendar, helped create the “125th Anniversary Season T-Shirt Contest” campaign, live-tweeted events such as the Floyd “Money” Mayweather Press Conference and even created graphics and updated their website at times.
Other responsibilities of mine included attending and working special events like the Summer Solstice party and the Group Leader Party, helping with upcoming merchandise for the 125th, learning how to order brochures and other marketing materials, researching potential audiences and even brainstorming for upcoming production’s. I also was able to attend many meetings with different promotional organizations like See Chicago Dance and WXRT to discuss and understand ad buying.
Lastly, I was asked to participate in the creation of two different film projects. Both projects were tons of fun! The first video we filmed was for National Dance Day since the Auditorium Theatre hosts many, many dance companies. We filmed in the beautiful theatre, in the company’s offices and even filmed in our staff meeting. The second video was filmed the day after and will be used as a promotional American Ballet Theatre video. I’m not going to give many details away, but let’s just say that I was required to wear a sailor outfit and dance around Chicago!
The Auditorium Theatre administrative staff is committed to creating an educational and real-world internship program. I’m a public relations major with a minor in theatrical studies and since they knew of my background they made it a priority for me to attend weekly meetings with Carol Fox & Associates, their out-of-house public relations firm. Additionally, I attended other departmental meetings and helped where I could to leave me with a more well-rounded understanding of arts administration. I can’t thank the administrative staff enough for all of the insight and tools they have given me, and I definitely cannot wait to return for some of their 125th Anniversary Season productions!