Students peek behind the curtains


Three KO students along with two faculty chaperones attended the Junior Achievement Shadow Day at The Bushnell Theatre of Performing Arts in Hartford on Tuesday, Nov. 12. This program, called “Behind the Curtain – the Business of the Theater,” informed students of what happens behind the scenes at the Bushnell and students were able to take a tour, participate in panels, and enjoy lunch with their peers.  

Junior Maggie Eberle and sophomores Olivia Pear and Sadie Margolis attended this shadow visit. The students said that overall they all chose to attend this program because they  share a love for the arts.

Sadie said that the trip was super exciting because it opened her up to potential careers.    “I chose to go on the Bushnell trip because I am really interested in musical theatre and thought it would be a great opportunity to discover new jobs that I could possibly be interested in,” she said.

Olivia said she went on the trip for the same reason but was also interested in seeing how a real theatre works and getting a behind the scenes look of the Bushnell.  

Their day at the Bushnell started off with a tour of the facility. “We got to go on the stages and go backstage and see the dressing rooms and the lighting panels,” Olivia said.  

Maggie said this was her favorite part of the trip. “We got to explore all the different theatres and wings of the Bushnell and all the nooks and crannies not everyone gets to see.”

The next activity scheduled was a load in. “A load in when all the set stuff from a new show arrives to the Bushnell and is unloaded,” faculty chaperone and Associate Director of College Advising Peggy Clark said.  

Unfortunately, due to weather, the load in was canceled. The students all agreed this would have been a cool part of the visit to witness and were sad to miss it.

Next, students attended three panels, each presenting a unique slideshow presentation. The first panel included the booking manager and the production manager. In their slideshow, they showed examples of the actual legal documents that negotiated the signing of stars.

The second panel included the Director of the Digital Communications Department and an Educational Outreach staff member.  

Ms. Clark said she was interested with the backstory of the Digital Communications worker because of how she never anticipated needing to learn computer coding for her job.  

Sadie said she really enjoyed what the Education Outreach staff member had to say.  “My favorite part of the trip was to see everyone’s passion about educating the youth about the arts,” she said.

The final panel included the front of house person and someone from the human resources department. “During this part we got up and our group moved upstairs and did cover letters and resumes,” Ms. Clark said.  

She said she found this particular aspect of the shadow visit to be quite interactive and engaging as students were able to proofread resumes and learn how to formulate the perfect cover letter.  After this panel, lunch was served.

All in all, Ms. Clark said she found this shadow visit to be a very packed day. Although all three students enjoyed the trip and felt they learned something new, they said they were a bit disappointed that there was no focus on the stars of the shows. “It was a bit more focused on the jobs behind the scenes aspect than the actors and the lights,” Olivia said.  

Maggie agreed with Olivia but said she would still recommend this trip to other students intrigued by the arts to see potential professions they could pursue in the art world. “For anyone who has a passion for theatre or anything involving the arts I would say it is a must go because you learn a lot of information and get exposed to a lot of people,” she said.  

Ms. Clark said that a big takeaway was that even though this was a Bushnell shadow visit, many other careers were presented. “I would encourage students to try some of these shadows even if it appears on the surface to be an area they wouldn’t be interested in, because most of the time there are other careers that make the business run.”