As we wrap up with our incredible cohort of 2021/22 Season 2050 Administrative Fellows, we want to take a moment to shine the spotlight on them. We wish them all the best of luck and happiness for their futures! Before their departure, we asked a few of them a few questions about their lives, their work at NYTW, and what lies ahead. Read below some excerpts of our conversations with them!
Question 1: Before we dive into your work at the Workshop, tell us about what you were doing before your fellowship? Feel free to talk about experiences and ventures you’ve had outside the workplace as well.
Cedeem Gumbs (Marketing Fellow): I was actually interning at an organization called Americans for the Arts. I worked as the Equity in Arts Leadership Intern where I helped to facilitate their Diversity in Arts Leadership program.
Robert Loria (Finance & Operations Fellow): I was working full-time at Starbucks while going to school part-time. To say I was exhausted was an understatement. However, my drive and determination to get things done is what kept me afloat. Which also brings me to another venture: my writing. I have written short stories, novels and screenplays for close to two decades now and I’m constantly working on my craft whenever I have time.
Bernadette Norman (Development Fellow): I worked for three years at a translation company in NYC called TransPerfect on their Formatting team.
Ali Sousa (Executive Fellow): I’d had literary internships at Second Stage and Atlantic Theater Company and been a script reader at the Playwrights’ Realm and Lincoln Center. I’ve also been a freelance dramaturg for almost a decade, and had always intended to look for work in literary/artistic departments.
Question 2: On that note, what exactly brought you to the Workshop? What does your day-to-day life as a Fellow look like?
Cedeem: My fellowship in the Marketing Department was super tailored to my English/Communications background and as such I ended up working on a huge project to help overhaul the NYTW website with language that better reflects their brand. I also managed the blog!
Bernadette: As the Development Fellow, I’ve been learning a lot about fundraising for an Off-Broadway theatre and assisting with many different tasks in individual giving, institutional giving, and special events. On any given day, I could be making phone calls to donors, drafting acknowledgement letters or grant reports, and helping with planning events. I really like that I have a variety of tasks and I get to meet and know our donors over the course of the year. I also love that I’ve learned a lot in general about how an Off-Broadway theatre is run simply by working in the NYTW office and collaborating within my team and across departments.
Ali: The Executive Fellow goes to meetings for almost every department with Jeremy, our Managing Director, which lets me get a great sort of bird’s eye view of each department’s unique contribution to the work that we do. I take notes at senior staff meetings, coordinate gifts (things like opening night flowers for artists we’ve worked with in the past, or treats for the company of whatever show we’re doing at the moment), manage house seat requests for our Broadway shows (so right now, Hadestown), keep track of which shows Jeremy is trying to see before they close, and tackle specific, longer-term projects as they come up. So a little of everything!
Question 3: Finally, what do you see yourself doing after your Fellowship ends? What will you take away from this experience?
Cedeem: I finished my fellowship in April rather than August so I could start a new job as the Talent Associate at ProPublica. That aside, I see myself seeing a LOT more theatre once I’m gone. My time at the Workshop has reignited my love for theatre and reminded me of the effect it can have on audiences of all backgrounds.
Robert: Once this fellowship ends, I hope to still work in this field. Behind the scenes is better for me anyway because I have too much stage fright. Of course, I’ll continue to write my fiction (which can be purchased on Amazon.com, yes, I know this is a “shameless” plug).
Bernadette: This experience has meant a great deal to me, not just from a career standpoint, but also because of the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made along the way. I feel very fortunate to be a part of the NYTW family, and I’ll never forget my year here. Looking ahead, I am very excited to join the Drama League as the Development Coordinator. I want to continue growing as an arts administrator and helping to advocate for and support the arts.
Ali: After my fellowship ends I’m starting as an Administrative Assistant at Thompson Turner Productions, which is a Broadway general management/producing office. It’s my first theater job that doesn’t have an expiration date as well as my first time working in general management, and I’ll be transitioning to commercial theater after spending several years in the nonprofit sector, so this is an exciting opportunity in so many different ways!