We Are Knox...
Franklin Park, Illinois
Theatre and Classics Double Major
Rebekah Heusel landed an internship in production management last summer
at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago, where she got an in-depth look at the
process of producing and managing successful plays.
Heusel was excited to work with several award-winning actors, some of whom were also playwrights and Pulitzer Prize nominees.
"I've been making great connections. I've met (award-winning actor) Tim Hopper, and worked at the place where Gary Sinise got his start; I got (playwright and actor) Tracy Letts' phone number. It's a bizarre feeling," she said.
During her internship, she made production calendars and organized the use of the rehearsal space for different groups. She worked closely with the stage managers for each production, communicating between them and the theatre administration to make sure everything ran smoothly.
Heusel said she has a lot of respect for the theatre and its productions. She applied to Steppenwolf every year since her first year at Knox. Last summer, she finally got a phone interview and was accepted soon after.
"I didn't expect to get it," said Heusel, who knew the chances of acceptance were slim. Nearly 200 applications were sent toward the 10 available positions that summer. "I just wanted to apply often enough so they would see my name, and then after I graduated, I would try to land an apprenticeship there."
Heusel's prior theatre experience greatly aided her acceptance. She has served as secretary for the Knox campus theatre advisory board, where she is now the technical director. She also had theatre internships with the Chicago Children's Theatre during her sophomore year and Chicago Scenic Studios her junior year. She frequently works in the Knox College theatre department managing sets and lights for productions.
Because stage management is her main passion, Heusel also asked to be involved with specific productions, including Gospel of Franklin and Annie Bosh is Missing. She helped set up transitions between scenes and read lines with actors during rehearsal. She also worked with the stage technicians during "Tech Week." (Photo at right: Rebekah Heusel, second from left, and other students taking an independent study course in theatre lighting discuss how to use new computer-controlled lights.)
"The best moment I had, especially as a learning experience, was being in Tech Week when all the different elements of theatre are combined and watching how efficiently it was all run and how well everyone communicated. To be able to watch that action...to sit in on that process and talk to them about it is a very cool experience."
Heusel is currently looking for a formal apprenticeship in stage management. Her dream is to secure an apprenticeship with a theatre in Scotland.