Reflections on Summer 2015

My Summer at Mermaid Theatre
by Chelsey Robichaud, Mermaid’s 2015 summer student

During my elementary school days, I would attend Mermaid Theatre performances with my mother. Ever since, I have been fascinated by the company’s puppetry magic. From the art of the puppets, scenery, loveable characters like Opus the penguin, the caterpillar eating his way across the stage – I was on the edge of my seat! I grew curious of the company and how everything comes together for one spectacular show.

When I saw the advertisement for the summer student position, I immediately applied. The position appealed to me because I’ve been eager to work for a theatre company and learn the business of theatre. My fingers were crossed up until the day I received the phone saying I had been selected for the position. That day was a celebration! I was so excited to start a job that would fulfill my summer with an experience that I am passionate about, and can learn from.

Walking into Mermaid Theatre on my first day of work, I was very excited and not at all nervous. I soaked in the information like a sponge because theatre has always been my favourite thing in the world. When you are in a job that you love, it is easier to learn your tasks.

The theatre world is intriguing – there are several aspects from what happens on stage to behind the scenes! So far, I have learned many things including the history of Mermaid, the building, the roles of every employee, the shows and how everything comes together to bring a children’s story to life.

I can’t even begin to list what my job consists of because every day is different. My large projects involve organizing tour books and other documents for Goodnight Moon/The Runaway Bunny and The Very Hungry Caterpillar and other Eric Carle Favourites as they will both tour North America this season. My job also consists of researching every venue Mermaid tours to make sure that the company has the information they need. My favourite part of the job is giving people tours of our building. The looks on their faces and reactions are priceless because they are amazed at what goes into creating a show. It’s great to have people who have been in the audience and have the chance to see these puppets up close! I enjoy demonstrating how some of the puppets work and explaining how they are made.

What’s fun about my job is it consists of things I actually do in my spare time. Whenever I am travelling to a city for vacation, I do extensive research on local venues so I can attend concerts and theatre performances. That being said, the task of finding ticket sales for our shows was no problem! I enjoy learning about unfamiliar places, their venues and various theatre companies who tour with their shows.

Beyond my desk, the office has busy here at Mermaid. We prepared for Caterpillar to perform in China for one month. We are also in the process of planning the Goodnight Moon & The Runaway Bunny North American tour, and for Guess How Much I Love You & I Love My Little Storybook to go to Ireland! It is interesting to look at the entire process to be able to perform their shows in different countries – Such as hiring the actors, receiving contracts and Visa applications to work outside of Canada, hotels, meals, everything. It is such a remarkable process! I am also interested in how the company works to receive the rights to other well-loved children’s stories.

I am sad to say that this is my last week at Mermaid Theatre for this summer. It’s been an amazing summer, and I have thoroughly enjoyed everything I have learned. Honestly, I cannot think of a summer job that is better than this. I am fortunate to have a job where I wake up feeling excited every morning for what the day will bring – even on a Monday morning. The employees here have been quite friendly and helpful to me as I had to navigate the ‘behind the scenes world’ of theatre. Their stories of their work and how the company came to be are quite inspiring. I have gained so much knowledge from this company, and I wish to continue this summer work!

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