SUMMER SPOTLIGHT: Connor McNinch reports from Weathervane Theatre

Hey y’all! My name is Connor McNinch, and I am a rising Senior BFA Theatre and Performance major! I was last performing with Emerson Stage in Measure for Measure this past semester as Lucio! This summer I am working up in Whitefield, New Hampshire as a performance intern with the Weathervane Theatre Company. Being a part of the intern program has been an absolute thrill so far! The interns perform in four of the eight main stage shows here, we also make up what they call the Patchwork Players. This is a small touring group that goes around performing

Theatre for Young Audience (TYA) pieces. On the Mainstage, I was in the ensemble of Bright Star and understudied Eddie and was in the ensemble of Sister Act while also playing Mike Nulty in White Christmas and Melchior Gabor in Spring Awakening

 

The intern program runs for 11 weeks and the daily schedule for us is VERY hectic; rehearsals start at around 9 a.m. and go until 6 p.m. if we have a show, and 9 p.m. if we don’t. We, of course, get a lunch and a dinner break, but other than that we are running on the normal Equity schedule. One thing that is very interesting about the Weathervane Theatre is that it operates in alternating repertory, which basically means that multiple shows are running at the same time. For example, just this week, Monday night was Bright Star, Tuesday was closing of Spring Awakening, Wednesday we will open Sister Act and have a two-show day on Thursday, Friday is The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, and to wrap up the week we have another two-show day of Sister Act. It’s really quite an interesting experience performing this way, as not many companies use alternating repertory anymore. It’s challenging to keep it all straight but the minute the lights go up, it’s quite amazing just how much everyone can keep in their bodies at one time. 

 

My favorite part about this program so far has to be the Patchwork Player shows. At Emerson, I am a board member of Kidding Around, and have also been in many shows with them! Since joining the org, I have grown to love Theatre for Young Audiences in a brand new sense. There are so many incredible messages behind these shows that many people would never be able to learn if it weren’t for these shows. Not only that, but TYA as a whole, but the Patchwork Players, more specifically, have gone out of their way to make it more accessible to a wider range of audiences. The Patchwork Players tour up to an hour from Weathervane to bring our shows to more and more kids.

 

Another org at Emerson that really helped me through this summer would be my fraternity, Zeta Phi Eta. We are a national professional fraternity, and through them, I have learned so much about what professionalism truly is. They taught me how to confidently carry myself in a professional setting (even when being asked to learn 8 full-length productions, in as many weeks). I am so grateful to have such strong and encouraging people in my life thanks to that org! 

 

As the summer is winding down, we are getting more free time and I am able to look back on everything that the Weathervane Intern Program gave me. First and foremost, it gave me a whole new family. Living in the same house as 57 other people really brings you close together, and I know I could turn to each and every person here for help, advice, or even a couch to sleep on in the city. I would be remiss in not speaking just a bit about the other interns briefly here. There are no words to describe these amazing people I am sharing this experience with, but I WILL say that they are some of the kindest, most accepting, most motivating, and most talented people I have gotten to work with! In addition to the people it brought me, [the Weathervane Intern Program] also taught me just how much my body and my mind are capable of. Learning everything we had to learn this summer was something I quite literally thought was impossible walking into the summer. This program pushed me so far out of my comfort zone and challenged me more than I have ever been challenged before and proved to me that I could! Although the program is hard (and believe me, some days were VERY hard), I will forever be grateful for all that I have learned here in the north country.

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