At Oak Park Festival Theatre, our summer interns are the very lifeblood of our company.

Every year, 10-15 young people are accepted into the Internship Program and come to us from across the nation. These Theatre Arts majors and recent college graduates join us to learn first-hand about working for a professional outdoor theater company. They participate in professional development workshops, perform in their own Shakespeare scene study showcase, understudy our main productions, and work on everything from set construction to box office management.

Internship opportunities at OPFT are designed to provide an educational, inspirational & career-broadening experience for post high school & undergraduate college students in a variety of aspects of theater arts. The scope of the duties and projects are diverse in nature, but every effort is made to provide an intern experience based on the educational desires of individual Intern Program participants. Intern candidate to the program should be highly driven, enthusiastic and resourceful.

PLEASE NOTE: Internships with Oak Park Festival Theatre are unpaid. Housing is not provided.


OPFT Interns work with Chicago area theater professionals. Your intern experience should allow you to connect your art and college experiences to work being done by theater professionals in a creative and supportive atmosphere.                                                                            

Broaden your understanding of professional theater in the Chicago area. Interning with OPFT allows you to begin to build a professional theater network.  These connections may lead to future jobs in the industry and invaluable professional contacts within the theater community.

2020 Intern Educational Programing & Opportunities:

  • Professional Development Workshops and Panel Discussions: A season of weekly workshops and panel discussions are designed around the interests of the summer interns. Once the 2020 Interns have been selected and offered positions with the company, a survey to gauge interests in various disciplines will be held to sculpt the programing specifically for the students involved in this year’s session. This professional development programing is offered in to broaden the understanding of the professional environment beyond the training offered in educational institutions. For reference, please click here to see an example Internship Calendar for Workshops and Panel Discussions.
  • Understudy opportunities: There are opportunities are available for interns to understudy THE TEMPEST directed by Barbara Zahora. Roles to be understudied: Miranda, Ferdinand, Sebastian, Adrian, Trinculo, Francisco, Stephano. Understudy roles are limited and will be auditioned after acceptance into the internship.
  • Intern Showcase: All Interns will have the opportunity to participate in the Intern Showcase, held in mid-July. This showcase will focus on scenes from the works of Shakespeare. The showcase will allow you to work under the direction of many of the OPFT Artistic Associates, providing many viewpoints, skills and understanding on how to approach scene work. A strong effort is made to cast scene partners from different educational environments.
  • EMC Points: Interns have the opportunity to gain EMC points by working as an Assistant Stage Manager. Interns ASM’s will be selected by management after interviews with the Stage Management team.
  • Mentorship: Interns will have the opportunity to be mentored by company members and staff who are paired with them based on individual interests.

Intern Duties & Responsibilities:

The Internship at OPFT has two main sections that define the summer: Set Build and Crew/ FOH for the summer production. The 2020 Summer Season will be focused on THE TEMPEST.


  • 2020 Summer Internship starts June 1 and goes through August 24th. 
  • The basic 2020 INTERNSHIP CALENDAR is available for download here.
  • Please note that this is subject to change.
  • This represents the maximum time you would be called.
  • Based on the needs of the production you are assigned to, and the weather, we have planned for MORE time on this calendar than you will typically be called for.
  • When possible we split into teams for work calls and rotate days to give Interns additional time off.

The first part of the summer internship will focus on the SET BUILD. Interns will be building sets in the park while learning skills associated with set construction under the supervision of our Technical Director and Intern Coordinator. Once the productions are in rehearsals and performances, the internship becomes a fully rounded Inclusive Theater Internship following all areas involved with producing a full professional production. Interns will:

  • Assist with set construction and painting prior to show opening
  • Be assigned either crew duties (lights, sound, ASM & running crew), or Front of House duties (House Management, Box Office, Concessions)
  • All interns will assist in pre and post show set up and strike.
  • Will have the opportunity to audition for understudy roles. Not all interns will be assigned understudy duties.
  • Will have the opportunity to participate in th Intern Showcase, which will focus on Shakespeare scene work
  • Will have the opportunity to participate in the workshops lead by OPFT Company Members, all working professionals in the Chicagoland area.
  • Will assist in Season Strike.


  1. Four (4) complimentary tickets to all OPFT summer season productions, and two (2) tickets to all OPFT summer season opening night performances.
  2. The opportunity to take advantage of our First Folio Theatre ticket summer season exchange program.
  3. College credit as arranged with your individual college or university.





Oak Park Festival Theatre is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, charitable organization. Donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

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