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As our summer break comes to an end, we collectively look back on our memorable vacation after our recent 2021-2022 school terms. Whether it be internship opportunities, summer jobs, or rest and relaxation, each student is currently finding themselves wrapping up their current plans and preparing for yet another year at Carthage. This is especially true for our upcoming seniors as they gear up for one final year before they begin their time post-graduation. One of these seniors is Marielle Shiring ’23, a fine arts student that has spent her summer working as an administrative assistant for an internship at Hope Summer Repertory Theatre (HRT). I spoke with Marielle regarding her internship, her upcoming senior year, and her plans for the future.

Can you tell us a bit about where your internship was and what your duties were?

I am one of the administrative assistants at Hope Summer Repertory Theatre. This is their 50th anniversary, and to celebrate, they decided to have performances year round instead of having events during the summer. Now rebranded to Hope Repertory Theatre, this organization is its own independent repertory theatre located at Hope College in Holland, Michigan. My job involves a wide range of tasks; I love this variety as it makes every day different. I answer phone calls, write emails, assist patrons, organize guild store items, teach education classes, provide rehearsal spaces with needed materials, and more! We are currently wrapping up the season by making sure everything is in order. I was also a part of the ensemble in one of our musicals, A Gentleman’s Guild to Love and Murder. This was truly an amazing experience and a great opportunity to work with many knowledgeable and seasoned actors.

How were you feeling once you started working at HRT? Have those feelings changed since then?

I was extremely anxious beginning my internship at HRT, as it’s a professional theater company that hires professional actors across the globe. However, I was reminded that even though everyone I work with is highly talented, they are great people that are truly helpful and fun to work with. I began this position stressed and worried, but I am leaving happily and content, despite being a bit saddened to see my internship coming to a close.

When it comes to arts administration, what is an important aspect that you think people should know about?

In arts administration, you are involved in almost every space and department within the organization that you are a part of. You get to work with so many people, including administration, actors, production, and costume designers. In fact, due to my previous sewing experience, I was asked to help in the costume shop to assist with some of our period pieces. In my experience working with management in past job occupations, arts administration allows for an unconfined work environment as you are in a position to help everyone!

How has your time at Carthage College and as a House Manager for the Fine Arts Department prepared you for your internship?

I began this internship being the only intern with any house managing and ushering experience! I was quickly tasked with house managing many of the shows that we perform now. I have also had experience as Arts Events Manager with the Office of Performing and Visual Arts, which has helped me develop skills in Excel and writing emails. If not for my current position at Carthage, I would not have been able to assist with running events or teach my fellow interns. Working under Tianna Conway, Director of Arts Events and Audience Engagement, has helped me grow my skills in a marketable way and I am truly grateful for that.

Senior year is right around the corner! How are you feeling as this chapter of your life comes to an end?

These past few years have passed by so quickly, and I’m extremely excited for my senior year. I can’t wait to begin crafting my senior thesis and take contemporary theater and directing courses. I’m directing Lungs by Duncan Macmillian during spring semester, a distinctive, off-kilter love story. I’m also thrilled to be adding Box Office to my resume (feel free to stop by to order tickets and say hello)! Finally, I’m exhilarated at the idea of graduating and beginning my career.

Do you have any plans for after graduation?

I talked to HRT’s artistic director, Lenny Banavez, who would like me to come back next summer for a different position. I loved this work environment and will work hard to enjoy this experience again! As for my long term plans, I hope to use the Carthage Fine Arts Department’s many connections to find a future job that interests me. I am also considering returning to school to earn my master’s degree, but I don’t plan on acting on this idea any time soon.

What is your most memorable moment at Carthage?

The first thing that comes to mind is my Play Reading and Analysis class this past spring term. This course had many of my friends in it and the professor, Neil Sharnick, fed into our chaotic energy, creating a fun environment. My second memorable moment has to be Carthage’s Constellations production, which also took place last spring semester. I was able to work with Bugsy Maloney, Bree Meinke, and Teagan Wilkins to create a truly beautiful show.

Finally, do you have any advice for future and current students?

Don’t try to be someone that you don’t want to be. When I began my time at Carthage, I tried to be someone that my parents and those around me would be proud of. However, this mindset wasn’t making me happy. When I finally made the decision to be who I am and make choices that made me happy, it changed my perception of the world and made me content with myself. Do something because you love to do it, not because you want to make others happy.