Summer Centered: Theodora Rodine ’19 Works Behind the Scenes
Thanks to a summer internship at In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre, the anthropology major is examining the art of performance in a professional setting.
Theodora Rodine ’19 has always had a flair for the dramatic. A fixture of her high school’s theater department, she participated in drama club, musical productions, and other plays and competitions. At Haverford, she has learned more about technical theatre, and “the way that performance as a human phenomenon exists on and off the stage.” As an intern for the Minneapolis-based In the Heart of the Beast Puppet and Mask Theatre this summer, however, she has a job in theatre for the first time.
“One of the best things about my job is that a typical day varies a lot,” says Rodine, who also co-founded Spotlight Theatre Company, Haverford’s only non-musical theater group. “I work on a variety of projects throughout the day, and I usually don’t sit at a desk for more than a couple hours at a time. Sometimes I’ll start with a task that helps maintain the theater space, like striking a previous show or organizing the storage area, and then I’ll transition to working on the set of the show that I’m helping put on, and maybe go to a meeting or to the community center where I help teach kids how to stilt.”
A puppet company and nonprofit organization that operates out of Minneapolis’s East Lake neighborhood, In the Heart of the Beast makes use of “water, flour, newspaper, paint, and unlimited imagination” to “tell stories that explore the struggles and celebrations of human existence.” But it doesn’t just limit its activities to the stage, hosting classes on puppetry and creating a huge parade for the neighborhood every May.
“As an anthropology major, environmental studies minor, and peace, justice, and human rights concentrator, I’m fascinated by the way art and social issues are intertwined, and I also love learning about the way different organizational structures affect the ability of nonprofit institutions to carry out their mission and serve their community,” says Rodine. “Bringing the two together in my internship, which is funded by the Center for Peace and Global Citizenship, inspires me to see the possibilities for me to contribute to this field.”
Her biggest takeaways from the experience? That there is no one way to “create activist art,” and that political involvement can be pleasurable in of itself.
“Working at In the Heart of the Beast, above all, has been really fun and allowed me to be engaged in creative work all summer,” says Rodine. “As much as it aligns with my future goals and my studies and I can talk about it in professional/academic terms, the spirit of my internship is focused on human expression and enjoyment, and it’s been a very lighthearted and joyous job.”
“Summer Centered” is a series exploring our students’ Center-funded summer work.