We Work Hard For No Money

We Work Hard For No Money: Findings From an Independent Survey on Theatre Internships (downloadable pdf) by Molly Marinik via HowlRound.


Here is what I learned: In total, ninety-five of the respondents completed one internship; eighty completed two; sixty-four completed three; twenty-four completed four; and fifteen completed five or more. Ten respondents completed zero internships, and a few people did not answer this question for reasons unknown. After sifting through the information, I reached out to some of the folks who had completed paid internships to delve a little deeper into their experiences: I received an additional sixty responses to those follow-up questions.

The survey made a distinction between internships and residencies/fellowships. Respondents were asked to classify if an experience was an internship, a fellowship, or a residency based on the language that the theatre company used when describing the position. For the purposes of this article, we are looking specifically at the internship experience, which is a lot more common and often more thankless. From the data returned, I learned that 95 percent of respondents completed at least one internship and 31 percent of respondents completed at least one residency or fellowship. That means that almost all of those residents and fellows were also interns at one time.

Seventy-five percent of respondents said the work they did as an intern was valuable in preparing them to work professionally. When asked if they would generally recommend the internship experience to theatre students and emerging theatre professionals, only 62 percent said yes. There were many qualifications to these answers.

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