Staff Spotlight: Olivia, Marketing Intern

Our Marketing Intern has taken it upon herself to make sure that you, our friends and patrons, get to know our staff a little bit more over the summer. This is the third blog post in her Staff Spotlight Series

It’s our Marketing Intern’s last day at Virginia Stage Company! In the fall, she will be returning to Longwood University to finish up her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Performance, to Festival Manage the Virginia Theatre Association Conference (hereafter VTA), and to eat her weight in D-hall fries. To recap her time with us, and just to get to know her a little better, here’s a Q&A with the author of the Staff Spotlight Series, by author of the Staff Spotlight Series. (Don’t worry, the Staff Spotlights Series will continue in her absence!)

Marketing Intern: So, let’s start at the beginning: How did you land this super-cool internship?
Marketing Intern: Well, Brad [Director of Marketing] is a fellow Lancer, and he returned to Longwood my freshman year to direct Blithe Spirit, a show I was lucky enough to be cast in (it’s still my favorite show I’ve done at Longwood). We ran into each other at VTA, and he told me about this internship! I applied that spring, and here I am!

MI: You’re a Marketing Intern. How does your degree in Theatre Performance relate to this area?
MI: Well, it helps that it’s for a theatre company. So, knowing what it actually takes to put on a show and the elements of that process that audiences would be interested in is hugely helpful. There are a lot of similarities between the two areas, really: being able to present yourself in a certain light to audiences and to other companies, knowing how to read and analyze plays. Also, being able to be creative in writing — whether in tweets or play synopses — and being able to take photos — for your company’s Instagram or at a photo call. I think it’s really remarkable the things you learn with a theatre degree that people don’t think about. You get to learn a little about everything.

MI: You’ve been working at Virginia Stage for a short time, but there have been a few pretty big changes! Could you touch on that?
MI: Yeah, definitely! When I started in May, we were in a teeny tiny, dark office on Granby Street, and now we’re in this huge, beautiful building with an amazing view of the water. It’s interesting how something seemingly superficial has had a huge effect on day-to-day life at the office. It’s a more open floor plan, so everyone can collaborate and hang out more. Having a pleasant work space really lends itself to creativity and productivity, even if it’s a way longer walk to Starbucks.

MI: Anything else?
MI: Well, I know everyone a lot better now. It kind of feels like a family…and now I have to leave. [laughs] [cries]

MI: What piece of art (album, painting, etc.) has influenced you the most as a person?
MI: This is my favorite question, but it is also the worst because it’s super hard to single out one piece of art. Since I’m both the interviewer and interviewee I am not playing by the rules: growing up around my grandfather’s art (local Norfolk painter Bob Holland) definitely influenced me creatively. Being in his studio and in the d’Art center (now located in Norfolk’s Neon District), I grew up thinking everyone was creative, that everyone had an outlet to express themselves. I knew I just had to find mine. Also, volunteering at d’Art’s Art Smart Camp for kids was a super rewarding and influential experience. Working with kids and seeing how they just dive into creating is inspiring. They’re not afraid of failure or making something silly, because there’s always more computer paper and markers to try again. I’m not saying that there weren’t tantrums or that the kids didn’t get frustrated, but it’s all just a part of the process. That’s the same with theatre, or anything, I feel like.

MI: What is the biggest lesson you’ve learned at Virginia Stage Company?
MI: I don’t know that I could boil it down to one, so I’m just going to spew nonsense as it pops in my brain…definitely the importance in surrounding yourself with people who are smarter and also more talented than you — and learning how to be inspired by it rather than threatened. Also, how small Norfolk is. I run into people I’ve worked with, or whom my dad's worked with (he works across the street), almost every day. Also, how rad of a place Norfolk’s becoming?! Brad signed me up for an internship program through the Downtown Norfolk Council, and we’ve been doing some really rad stuff, like sailing and painting and biking. Stuff I never would have done if I wouldn’t have been in this program. So yeah [listing off her fingers], Norfolk is cool/small, hang out with smart people, and if there’s cake in the fridge, eat it.