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Way Different Than What I Expected: Being a Pangea World Theater intern

Updated: Jul 11, 2023

Some people dread internships. At many companies, they treat their interns as if they are dispensable: only giving them tasks that have little to no impact on their business, pushing them to the back corner of an office for the interns to fantasize about what they would be doing if they were a “real” employee, claiming it will build character. That is not how we do things at Pangea.

Pangea's Internship Program, much like all of what Pangea does, is completely unique based on the person. There's no single structure, no curriculum or specific role to play. Similar to a mound of clay, Pangea simply acts as the wheel for each artist to shape and form their internship into whatever they desire it to be. Some might be more interested in the production side of a show, working behind the scenes to help a project come together. Others might be interested in more administrative aspects, entering data into our database or learning about writing grants. Or maybe someone wants to see a little bit of everything that Pangea has to offer. Whatever an intern’s goals and interests may be, it is our job to give them the tools they need to explore them so they may learn what suits them. Because an intern is first and foremost a person, with their own goals and interests that deserve to be nurtured, not ignored.

When Ahan Devgun joined our ensemble as a Blake high school student during the summer of 2022, he said his initial reaction to Pangea’s internship was “...Way different than what I expected. Not just different, but it was better.” When asked to reflect on his overall experience, he had this to say:

Pangea is such an amazing community full of people who genuinely care about you and your work, and you will never feel like just an employee; you will feel like a member of a family… I have grown so much, from learning a lot about the mechanisms of working in a theater company, and also from the life experiences of my family there. Pangea truly prioritizes community growth and this shows in everything they do down to their meetings. You will truly never feel alone when working at Pangea because you have so many amazing people to support your growth, learning, and your work… The work that Pangea does is revolutionary, and working there was such a brilliant experience that I would recommend to anyone that is interested in the arts, or even to those who are interested in building their community.

Personally speaking, I joined Pangea at a time in my life where I had little to no idea of what I wanted to do with my life. As life began to transition from quarantine to some pseudo-version of normality and college students were allowed to come back to campus, I realized the fugaciousness of my position: soon I would no longer be a student, so what was I supposed to do next? Feeling clueless and lost, an opportunity presented itself in the form of a requirement I needed to finish before I could graduate: “Complete 100 hours of a degree-appropriate Internship.” Like many, I was dreading the experience of being pushed around by higher-ups all day under the guise of “building character” or “preparing you for the real world,” but then I found Pangea. I was taken in almost immediately with open, welcoming arms, greeted by every person. To them I wasn’t just another temp, but I was someone who was going to help make it all happen. I was a piece of the process that was going to make a just world, decolonize our current “normal”, and make it into something that benefits everyone. Through this internship, I truly realized that the world is so much more than just the bleakness shown on the news. When you look for it, you can always find some good out there, people working to the absolute maximum and then some, for the peace of humankind.

Chloe Rohl is a creative writing student at the University of St. Thomas. She found her way to Pangea’s internship program through one of our board members, Dr. Olga Herrera. Like Ahan, she was welcomed into the circle during the summer of 2022. “I was encouraged to familiarize myself with all of the staff members and their work, as well as to pursue projects within areas of interest to me.” After building strong bonds with the rest of the ensemble, she went on to aid Pangea in the preparation and execution of our annual gala, Rooting Compassionate Communities, an event that came about as a way for Pangea to celebrate our audience and artists for all the support they’ve given us over the years. Chloe was also able to aid Pangea with organizational work, as well as working with our communications and promotion team. When asked about her favorite part of her internship experience, her answer was “Witnessing the impact their art has had on Lake Street and surrounding communities.” She recommends anyone with a passion for art and their community to consider the internship program.

As a middle-aged queer mom finishing her first bachelor’s degree after a 16-year corporate career in graphic design, Sarah Duncan came to Pangea as an intern in January of 2020. “At my internship interview,” Sarah recalls, “Adlyn explained Pangea’s practice of Two Minutes — a time at the beginning of any work together when we breathe, let the outside world decrease in our focus and transition into working together — I knew I was someplace new. This practice of grounding as a group was so different from the corporate world I was accustomed toknew. I knew in those first two minutes, that I wanted to learn more about the hows and whys of Pangea’s process, culture, and work.” As her internship progressed, the pandemic began. Upon her reflection of such a turbulent time, Sarah had this to say:

“It was inspiring seeing how Pangea prioritized the health and well being of the staff and audience by making the hard decision to close the main stage show, Sueño, early— it demonstrated such care for our circle and community in the face of the unknowns about the virus. Pangea moved to online meetings and remote work to protect not only each other but also the communities each ensemble member cared for, and kept everyone on-staff. It was amazing! Then when George Floyd was murdered, in response to the uprising, Pangea resourced the staff to curate a project — from performance to installation, workshops and zines. Throughout it all, Pangea supported artists making work. Seeing and being a part of this transition was not the internship I expected, and it taught me so much about being in community together.”

Those who are familiar with Pangea might recognize the name Keila Anali Saucedo as one of our long time ensemble members and our Executive Productions Assistant. However, what some might not know is that Keila got their start at Pangea as an intern during the summer of 2016. "I was really interested in thinking about how social Justice and activism which had interested me and been a huge part of my life could fit in with artistry specifically with theater." After just a quick Google search, specifically social justice theater Minneapolis, Keila found Pangea and said they never looked back. Their first summer with the organization became the platform that helped her grow both personally and as an artist: "... I learned through the Lake Street Arts! program and what it means to have art out loud and in public space; I learned through seeing rehearsal processes just how different everything in theater can be when you put the human, the connection, at the center of it." Keila continues not only to flourish as an artist and playwright, her work and involvement at Pangea continues to play a critical role in our movement for a better world for everyone. Work that started as an intern.

“Something that really struck me is one time someone asked me while I was at the office who I was and I was like 'well I'm just an intern', and the whole office kind of erupted and they were like 'You're not just an intern!" like "How could you say that!' That really inhabits what the internship program is; you're meant to be here, we want to further your learning, we want to know what you want to know, and we want you to teach us as well.”

Regardless of age, education, or background, there is always a place for you at Pangea. That is our commitment to our interns. You could have absolutely no idea what your goal is or what you want to work towards, and Pangea can work with that. If you are looking for a chance to change not only the world around us, but the course of your life as it is now, this is your moment.

Film by Jenny Zander

"I have been honored in my works as a playwright, I have been honored, I've been respected in a way that I had just never seen previously. Pangea World Theater is an incredibly special place.” Keila Anali Saucedo 2016

"Coming from a place of absolutely no experience with basically any theater community in the real world at all, anywhere, I was pretty nervous… Everyone extended open arms right away and included us as part of the family, part of the group, and that was really wonderful." Julia Hertzberg 2019

"You can go for anything that you're passionate about and explore that more during this time, and I would say have fun!" Julia Hertzberg 2019

“They showed me something I didn't know I wanted… They have faith, and they like taking people from the community and people of color and making them a safe space for art and anything else." Deidra Beauchamp 2021


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