Just a little less than a month ago, fourth-year drama major Ashley Dunn began her internship at John F. Kennedy Center for the Peforming Arts in Washington D.C. Every day, she walks into the Kennedy Center at around 9 a.m. and welcomes the challenges that come with this exciting internship experience.
Since her first year at UCI, Dunn has shown an increasing amount of interest toward costume craft and design.
Besides taking classes in school to pursue a degree in drama, Dunn has also made theatrical costumes and crafts in her spare time. She has been involved in several drama productions on campus, including ‘Blood Brothers.’
Dunn is excited to kick off the beginning of her senior year with an internship at the Kennedy Center.
As an intern in the production department, Ashley assists the production operations manager with overseeing the production of each show.
In 1971, the Kennedy Center opened its doors as a memorial to President John F. Kennedy.
Since then, it has been a growing and expanding institute that presents theatrical performances from all over the world. It puts on an average of 3,000 productions each year.
The Kennedy Center recruits interns every year for the fall, winter and spring internships. The internship not only exposes its attendees to the technical part of theatrical production but also to the major issues in art management through weekly seminars led by executives of the center and other major arts institutions in Washington, D.C .
Along with 22 other interns who come from all over the country, Dunn has been chosen to become a team member of the center.
At first, the intensity and the amount of work at the center shocked Dunn. Thinking back to her first impression of the center, Dunn said, ‘It’s a huge company. It’s not like anything I’ve seen before.’
However, these anxious feelings soon disappeared after Dunn began to explore the ins and outs of the center.
Deirdre Lavrakas, the production operations manager, had only good things to say about Dunn.
‘As she is only three weeks into her internship, you can see that she is adapting well to the fast-paced environment at the Kennedy Center,’ Lavrakas said.
Dunn spends the first part of her day entering data and working with the technical department. The latter part of her day consists of projects like costume design and production.
The most exciting yet challenging experience so far is her opportunity to work with local artists on the design and construction of puppets for the upcoming production of Roald Dahl’s ‘Willy Wonka.’
Dunn is also working with Lavrakas on developing a wardrobe inventory system for Suzanne Farrell Ballet as well as assisting in the production of ‘On Golden Pond.’
Aside from spending time at her internship in Washington, D.C., Dunn plans on exploring different parts of the East Coast during her weekends.
Her most recent plan is to visit New York to enjoy some of her favorite Broadway performances.
Dunn will end her internship at the Kennedy Center on Dec. 11. She will then bring home with her the precious experience she has gained from the internship and finish off her last year of college.
After graduation, Dunn plans to pursue a career as a costume crafts specialist or administrator at a regional theater in Los Angeles.
As for other students who aspire to be involved in costume design and plan to apply for an internship at the Kennedy Center, Ashley’s only advice is, ‘Go for it!’