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Meet Our Interns

Pictured left to right: Paul Ramirez, Cara Grasso, and Anika Perera.

By A Noise Within
March 2, 2021

Written by Paul Ramirez

Don’t call them angels. This dynamic trio is ready for anything that may come their way as they have had to navigate college and intern life during a worldwide pandemic. Zoom fatigue anyone? Read on to explore answers from our three spring interns Anika Perera (New York University Tisch, Major: Drama, Minor: Business in Entertainment, Media, and Technology), Cara Grasso (University of California Los Angeles School of Theater, Film, and TV, Major: Theatre), and Paul Ramirez (Cal Poly Pomona, Major: Marketing Management) as they talk theatre, goals, and the uncertainty of future career prospects in a post-pandemic world. 

How did you find out about ANW? 

Cara Grasso: I hated doing Zoom theatre. That’s what all my friends were up to, but I just wasn’t excited about that and needed to find something else. I ended up emailing every theatre in LA, Austin, and NY. Just all these places that I thought were cool. I had found the Education Intern description for ANW and emailed Alicia (Director of Education and Community Outreach). She replied back letting me know that she was currently furloughed. I thought, how classic of the pandemic. A month later, she emailed me back saying she was off of furlough and the internship program was back on. 

Anika Perera: My school used to take field trips to the matinee at ANW, so when I started to look for internships, ANW seemed like a natural choice. And here I am! 

Paul Ramirez: I found out about the internship through the LA County Arts and Culture website. My last job of 4 years had ended due to the pandemic and I was ready to look for my next challenge. I was also nearing the end of my school career and knew I wanted to intern somewhere in the arts, so I stumbled upon the listing for ANW and applied. 

What type of theatre experience do you have? 

A: I started at a kid’s theatre at the age of 9. From there I became a camp counselor and later joined their competitive musical theatre team. I continued to participate in theatre throughout high school and ended up in NYU’s theatre program. 

C: Competitive musical theatre is the scariest phrase I have ever heard in my life. 

A: *laughs nervously* It was scary! It was basically like dance teams, but you could choose a singing solo or a monologue, and as a group we would do a big number. Once we did an Andrew Lloyd Webber revue. 

P: I would die. 

A: It was 8 hours of rehearsal on Saturday and 8 hours of dance class during the week. 

C: I broke my collarbone playing soccer in fourth or fifth grade and my mom told me that I needed a new hobby. So that’s how I found myself doing middle school improv comedy, which is also a scary phrase. I went on to do theatre in middle school and high school. Now I am studying directing, producing, and education theatre at UCLA. 

P: I love that a broken collarbone led you down a totally different path in your life. My path is not as pain-inducing nor does it involve a lot of theatre, per se. I am currently majoring in marketing and have always had an interest in nonprofits along with the arts and theatre. I really wanted a chance to marry both of these passions, and this opportunity definitely allowed me to explore the marriage of the two. 

What were some of the goals you had in mind when starting your internship? 

A: Mostly it was to see how a nonprofit theatre worked. I wanted to focus on Education specifically because I have always thought about becoming a theatre teacher or just a teacher in general. We worked a lot on the summer camp curriculum, workshops, and outreach to schools that gave me insight into how to spread theatre throughout the community beyond just ANW. 

C: I literally have nothing to add to that. That was exactly my answer. Just seeing how a legitimate theatre functions internally and how educating students in theatre works.  

P: I really wanted more insight into the nonprofit and arts world and how marketing from a traditional brand or company differed from the nonprofit world.  

What are some of your favorite projects that you have worked on so far? 

C: Anika and I wrote curriculum for Midsummer, Macbeth, and Antigone. That was really cool and super fun, especially since we got to collaborate. We had so much freedom to really explore what we thought was interesting about the text. 

A: I would second that. I think I’m just excited to see it come to fruition. I sat in on one of Alicia’s classes, and it was just really cool to see the kids slowly grow out of their shells. 

P: In working with the marketing department, I have been able to really have my hands in multiple pies, so that has been really great. I think one of my favorite projects thus far has been the content we made for the virtual reading of Arthur Miller’s The Price. The social media content we made for that campaign definitely hit on multiple different aspects from informational to fun. 

What type of position or job would you want to occupy either in theatre or elsewhere?

A:  This is such a difficult question. You brought up my mid college crisis. *nervous laughter* What Alicia does in Education is interesting, or even opening my own kid’s theatre company that will focus more on professional skills that I wished that I had when I was first pursuing theatre. Just somewhere in the business that may or may not exist in the next year. 

P: Thankfully you’re both in school currently and not about to graduate. 

A: Unlike you. 

P: Exactly. *more nervous laughter* I would love to gain further insight into the nonprofit world and maybe go down that path and just anything in social media marketing. I love telling a good story that resonates with people.  

C: I’m also having a crisis now. Thanks a lot. I think I’m interested in everything from the creative side to the more pragmatic side like what you see in production and stage managers. That’s why I really like directing and what I am technically at UCLA for. I think any job that blends the creative and more organizational sides, especially as it is related to education.

Bonus Question: 

Have you guys watched any theatre or seen anything that has inspired you recently?

A: I have not seen anything that has struck me recently, however I directed a show called The Straw

C: Since Anika did some self promotion I am also going to do some self promotion. I directed a radio play that’s happening on UCLA Radio. I am not sure when it’s happening, but it’s happening. It’s called The Toilet and it is through Highball Media Production Company. 

P: Not necessarily theatre, but I was able to catch ANW’s Fridays @ Five Eye on Design panel. It gave some really great insight into the processes of scenic, lighting, music composition, and costume design for ANW.

We are so thankful to have such incredible interns working with us! We wish them the best of luck as they pursue their education and explore more of the theatre and nonprofit world.

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