Skip to main content
Communication, Art + Technology › Contemporary Arts
Professional Development Coordinator

empty
Image of the Author
Some Cast & Crew of Alley Theatre's "Mrs. Warren's Profession".
Take any opportunities that are offered to you because you never know what else they’ll lead to.

School for the Contemporary Arts (SCA) Professional Development Coordinator, Chelsea Hunter, sat down with Daniel Arnold and Marisa Emma Smith from the Vancouver-based Alley Theatre to find out more about the company, their interest in working with students and their sage advice for emerging artists.

Tell us about Alley Theatre and the company’s philosophy in working with students.

Alley Theatre was founded in 2008 and we produce mostly new Canadian plays.  We believe that non-traditional staging such as site-specific and created-space work not only enlivens theatrical experience but also attracts a new theatre-going audience, which is a primary goal of our company.  We choose to work with students for so many reasons. Most students are young and young people are the future! We can learn as much from them as they can from us.  We also love the forward-thinking, outside-the-box energy that youth can have, the ability to be open to experimentation and new ideas.  Being a student allows people to have the freedom to fail and we love that kind of energy.

From your professional experience, how do you see these internships as being beneficial to students?

Well, the classroom can only teach so much—it can’t really replace the experience of working in the professional world.  Doing an internship with a professional company gives students a leg-up when it comes to landing paid gigs after school, which is a crucial time in one’s career.  Also during an internship, students would be learning from veteran professionals in the industry—which is invaluable for education.  Artistic Producer, Marisa Emma Smith was an intern with Neworld Theatre early in her career and years later she ended up on staff there and she is now directing her second associate production with Neworld.  So you can never underestimate the connections you make in these kinds of work experiences.

Can you tell us about the internship positions you have open to SFU students and how they fit within the company?

For our upcoming production, we have three internships available to students. The first two (for summer and fall) are for a Community Coordinator Assistant and would be ideal for students interested in the bridges between art and community.  Community Coordination will involve connecting with various community groups and organizations about their involvement in this professional theatre production, managing schedules, and outreach to community groups and audiences.  The third internship (for fall) is for Running Crew during our production, which involves the smooth backstage running of the show—which will have about 45 people on stage and use the entire space of the Annex Theatre.  Each intern would work closely with their superior (Community Coordinator, Stage Manager, Production Manager) as well as with the company’s Artistic Producers and the project’s director. 

Do you have any advice for emerging artists?

Apply for everything you can! Be open to all new experiences! Follow what you’re passionate about and pursue it, and don’t limit your thinking about what you can or cannot do.  Take any opportunities that are offered to you because you never know what else they’ll lead to.  Securing a career in the arts can be difficult, but extremely valuable and noble (and fun!) and the ‘real world’ rewards emerging artists who are keen, eager, and determined.  A life in the arts is a reward in and of itself. 

Beyond the Blog

  • Interships through the School for the Contemporary Arts offer meaningful career-related experience within your artistic discipline and give you credits towards your degree. Contact Chelsea for more info or to arrange an internship. 

Professional Development Coordinator

You Might Like These... Prospective, Professional Development, Career Exploration

Co-op students jumping in the air
The Co-op Connection Helps Retention

In this blog post, Heather shares with us why co-op is an important experience for all students, whether it be to further career aspirations or to gain future employment opportunities. 

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

Hands holding a volunteer badge
Sana Siddiqui: Volunteerism Opens up Endless Possibilities | Part Two

She has been involved with SFU LEAD, Peer Programs and the SFU Muslim Students’ Association, just to name a few. Now, Sana Siddiqui, a Criminology student, reflects back and shares with us the invaluable academic, personal and professional skills and opportunities volunteering opened for her, read on to find out what she has to say about getting involved on campus and in the community.

You Might Like These... Co-op Reflections

Vlad Tkachenko
What I Learned During my Co-ops at RIM and SAP

Vlad Tkachenko is a 5th year Computing Science Student who spent 2 co-op terms at RIM and 2 co-op terms at SAP. He shares what he learned and some tips for success on the job.

Adrian Quiroz and his friends
Teaching English Abroad? Top 5 Tips for Success

Adrian Quiroz is a fourth year student of French, Linguistics, and Speech Sciences at Simon Fraser University. After teaching English in France, he wanted to share his tips for success. Read more to learn about Adrian's experience, and his invaluable tips!

Hydrogen In Motion facility
Touch the Future of Hydrogen Storage

The future of energy belongs to hydrogen but you can be part of the future as well. Weilin discusses their experience as a Co-op student with Hydrogen In Motion Inc. at Powertech Labs Inc, where they were a part of the next generation power source and learned engineering knowledge throughout the whole process.