Abigail Murray-Stark ’22

Jacob’s Pillow, Becket, MA

The organization I worked with this summer was Jacob’s Pillow, a nonprofit that is undertaking the responsibility of presenting and preserving the art of dance. Specifically, during the summer, Jacob’s Pillow has a 10-week festival celebrating dance. Each week of the festival, one company performed nine shows (weather permitting) on their outdoor stage while another company performed site-specific works at different places around campus. I was a part of the production team, and we were in charge of addressing each individual dance company’s needs surrounding their performance. Whether they needed a sound system, an enormous wooden ramp, or a layer of steel deck covering the entire outdoor stage, we were there to make it happen. I was one of four production interns, and our responsibilities changed each week based on where people were needed to get the job done.

My official photo for the festival website.

For the first week of the festival, we hosted Dorrance Dance. Their site-specific performance was roving, taking place at six different sites all around campus; the audience was guided to each site, where a performance would take place, and then they would move on to the next venue. The show operated on a tight schedule; each site had a five-minute long performance, and audience members had three minutes to get from one site to another. Production interns and staff were assigned to be site managers for each of the six sites, and my responsibilities included setting up and taking down a sound system consisting of various homemade “instruments,” ensuring the safety of performers at my site, keeping on schedule, and making sure the performance ran smoothly.

I worked in all aspects of theatre production this summer, and I am more able to discern the aspects of production I am passionate about, and what might not be a good fit for me. For instance, my least favorite part of this summer was having to build an entire stage out of sprung floor, and then remove it to build a stage out of steel deck with a layer of plywood on top. I learned that manual labor and heavy lifting is not something I enjoy doing, but it was very satisfying whenever we completed a large undertaking like that. My favorite part of this summer was when I operated the sound board and learned how to live mix microphones, instruments, and music playback. Being a part of the chaos of a summer festival reminded me of why I wanted to go into the field of theatre tech in the first place, and it has reaffirmed the fact that this is a career for which I have a lot of passion. I would like to thank the Kraft Family and the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for this amazing opportunity.