I’m backdating a bit here but a little while ago it was Memorial Day. Where better to celebrate than Washington, DC; capital of the USA and experts at building memorials. In preparation, I touched up on my USA history lessons thanks to YouTube (links to Drunk history are on the right hand side – hilarious!) before catching the bus down to Virginia with some friends from work.
We visited the Kennedy Center (DC’s equivalent to the Lincoln Center), the contemporary art museum and waved to the thousands of bikies that came into town to participate in the loud motorcycle parade, the Roll of Thunder. Some brilliant moustaches noted!
Highlight was definitely seeing the man himself, Abraham Lincoln, sitting in all his glory and overlooking the long reflecting pool and the rest of Washington. Also managed to fit in afternoon tea with Obama and the fam.
Continuing on the Lincoln theme, seeing I’ve been here working at the Lincoln Center Festival (and haven’t even mentioned it!) and I am yet to delve into the wonderful world of US internships, I thought it was about time I started. However, where do I begin!
The world’s largest performing arts center, The Lincoln Center is made up of the Lincoln Center of Performing Arts Inc (LCPA – who present the International Arts Festival amongst 3 other summer fests) and 12 constituent arts companies including the following impressive list: The Metropolitan Opera, NY City Ballet, Lincoln Center Theater, NY Philharmonic Orchestra, The American School of Ballet, The Lincoln Center Film Institute and a few others. Everyone comes together on the beautiful 16 acres campus that has recently undergone a massive billion dollar redevelopment (now one can enjoy the ‘Illumination Lawn’ whilst sitting in the plaza).
The Lincoln Center Festival presents a program of international artists and this year runs for a mighty 6 weeks (normally 4) thanks to the incredible 5 show run by the Royal Shakespeare Company. Performing in a replica Shakespearean stage shipped from the RSC’s home in Strafford upon Avon in the UK, the Festival has achieved an amazing feat and built this incredible 950 seat performance space in the Drill Hall of one of New Yorks oldest buildings, the beautifully ornate Park Avenue Armory. Incredible!
The internship itself has been a combination of EVERYTHING, rewarding, challenging, fun, tiring, exciting and at times, absolutely mad like all good festivals are. Working in a US work environment at such a prestigious and large-scale organisation took a while to get used to, but once the festival began, the real bonding started. We are a smallish team at the festival, but what is brilliant is that we work on the same level as everyone at LCPA so I have been lucky to meet people from all departments, including the inspirational Lincoln Center President, Reynold Levy. Once the president of the International Rescue committee, Reynold has challenged me to read his book on corporate philanthropy (cover to cover he specified) before he then hands my resume onto the IRC. Time is ticking!
Other highlights include the Midsummer Night Swing outdoor festival stage with nightly free music, RSC parties at the park avenue armory on opening nights, watching the crazy Brazilian Tom Ze take apart his guitar and play it like a whistle and welcoming my good friends from Druid in Galway here to New York to perform ‘The Silver Tassie.’
So much more to say about Lincoln Center, but I will leave it at that for now. Will try to be more diligent with the updates, however free time is a luxury during festival!