Backstage at the Egyptian: Interview with Jessica Hicks

Interview Conducted by Alex Nerad – Egyptian Theatre Executive Director

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Jessica Hicks was the marketing intern for the fall of 2016 from Northern Illinois University.  We would like to thank her very much for all of her contributions to our non-profit organization this Fall.  She helped with many of our events this Fall, lots of marketing efforts, coordinating events, and much more.  We wish her the best with her future career in the non-profit sector!

Alex: What did you get to be involved with this semester at the Egyptian Theatre?
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Jessica: There were so many different events at the theatre that I was able to be apart of this semester! We hosted body building competitions, comedians, concerts and so much more! With each event I tried to interview a performer for that week and I got the opportunity to interview many different people, from historians to dancers to talking dogs! I got to work with the cast of The Rocky Horror Picture Show to help plan promotional ideas. In addition to these I got to work first hand with Todd Oliver, the ventriloquist with the talking dog, to help set up different promotional events. The Tails Humane Society helped with this event and I got to work with them as well in efforts to make the show the best it can be! The day of Todd’s show Tails brought dogs to the theatre and it was a great experience! I got the opportunity to work with so many different people throughout my semester at the theatre!

Alex: What did you learn about the Egyptian Theatre that you didn’t know when you started your internship?

Jessica: Before this semester I did not know much about the Egyptian Theatre, I simply thought it was like any other theatre where they host different events. I had no idea the theatre was built in 1929, I did not know how old it was or how much history is within these walls. I learned that John F. Kennedy actually gave a speech in front of the Egyptian Theatre 57 years ago in 1959. I also learned that there was originally supposed to be a hotel that was connected to the theatre but they did not have enough money to build it because of the crash of the stock market. There are so many interesting facts about the theatre that I would have never known if it was not for my internship!

jessicanutcrackerAlex: What would your tell other students thinking about doing an internship? Why do you think it helpful to do one while going to school?

Jessica: Any student thinking about doing an internship should definitely give it a try! Any internship is something that you will gain experience and learn from. I am a Psychology Major, so the Egyptian Theatre is not exactly in my career path but I learned so many things while interning here that I will use both in college and my adult life! I have had to communicate with a variety of different people, whether it was face-to-face, over the phone, or via email I was always contacting others. Having to communicate with so many people is very good experience because no matter what your career is, you will always need to be personable and professional. Communicating with others, organization, and time management are all things I had to do while interning at the theatre and those are things I will always use. I think it is very helpful to do an internship while going to school because it gives you so much experience before you are out there in the real world. I think many students might worry that an internship will conflict with your schooling but I do not think that is a problem. Alex always worked around my school schedule and made sure school came first and I believe many other internships would do so as well!

Alex: What did you learn that you think you can use in the future with a career in a non-profit?

Jessica: I did not have much knowledge of many non-profits before this experience, but if there is anything I learned it would be that marketing and promoting are so important in non-profits! Promoting events and marketing them and simply getting the word out is what will make an event successful. Another thing that I never thought about was how important volunteers are. Especially here at the theatre, our events would not be as successful as they were without the help of volunteers. There are so many things that have to be done on event days that could not be done with the few employees we have, so volunteers are so important to the outcome of an event!

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Alex: What was your favorite experience of the semester?

Jessica: My favorite experience of the semester was definitely working with Todd Oliver and his talking dog Irving. I helped lead the promotional efforts for the show and it was a great experience. I planned out the social media posts as well as set up different elementary school assembly’s for Todd to perform at leading up to his show at the theatre. I was very nervous about trying to set up different assembly’s and was rejected a few times; however, we ended up doing four different assembly’s at four local elementary schools within three days. Todd performed for more then 1,500 students and it did not cost the schools anything. Being able to work with Todd and seeing the joy on all the children’s faces was something I will never forget! Being the one who put the shows together and seeing how successful they were was very rewarding and an amazing experience!

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