From Actor to Intern: A College Girl's First Stage Story

3:10 PM
By Mallory Elver, First Stage Development Intern

When I remember the morning that I first set foot into First Stage Theater Academy as an eighth grader, I still feel my stomach twist into an anxiety-provoked knot.  Eight years since that summer, I have heard many similar first day sentiments from other Academy students.  That morning, I would never foresee the path that First Stage would pave for me.  Today, I am a Development Intern at this wonderful theater organization.  I spent last summer as an intern in the Marketing and Public Relations Department.  What happened between my first day as a First Stager and my current internship is a journey for which I will forever be grateful.
My first role: a news reporter
 in the YC stage adaptation of
 Night of the Living Dead.  December 2008
            That summer, First Stage taught me invaluable social skills within a two-week time frame.  After my first day, I had improvised a scene in front of my classmates, laughed when we played the Shakespearean Insult Game and took the first few steps—literally—in learning musical theater choreography.  I performed and collaborated with kids my age whom I had never previously met!  As a shy pre-teen, I had never valued myself as a performer until that day.
            As I grew older, First Stage served as a crucial self-esteem booster and a vital creative outlet while I strove to meet the stressful demands of high school.  The beginning of my sophomore year, while I pushed myself academically in the hopes of one day entering a university honors program, I decided that spending time in the performing arts was exactly what I needed.  To this day, when I think of the most nerve-wracking moments of my life, I cannot forget auditioning for the Young Company, First Stage’s pre-professional high school theater training program, in front of then-Academy Headmaster John Maclay.  Thanks to the determination and confidence that I acquired at First Stage, I swallowed my nerves, performed my two monologues, and John told me (I remember his exact words): “Mallory, if you want to be in, then you’re in.”
That daunting moment became one of the happiest I have ever experienced.  First Stage taught me to take risks.  Thus, once Young Company classes began, I auditioned for every YC play that year.  The thrill of making progress in rehearsals and feeling the adrenaline rush while performing in front of an audience propelled me to a never-before-attained level of confidence.
Representing SPEA as a 
Founders Scholar at the 2014 
IU Honors Convocation
What I admire most about Theater Academy is that not only does it teach students so much about acting and script analysis, but—more importantly—it develops future community leaders who are ready to contribute to society and live happy lives.  Although I knew that my acting days were over, I sought to study theater in some capacity.  As an editor of my high school newspaper, I also yearned to study journalism.  Luckily, I discovered that Indiana University Bloomington offers an undergraduate Arts Management major.  Next year, I will graduate from IU as an Arts Management major with Honors from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA).  I will also have earned a Certificate in Journalism, minors in Spanish and Theatre & Drama as well as the General Honors Notation from the Hutton Honors College.  Additionally, I work as a Box Office Clerk at the IU Auditorium.  At this job, my love for the performing arts, refined social skills and strong work ethic—all products of my First Stage experience—are employed every day.

First Stage guided me to my area of study.  This unparalleled theater organization inspired me to learn the business side of the arts so that new generations of youths can have life-changing experiences like mine.  First Stage’s mission is to transform lives through theater.  I am thankful that it truly does so for countless young people and their families every single day.

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