For Karyn Todd ’13, working at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago has been years in the making. Originally from Chicago, Todd shadowed a Steppenwolf employee in the summer of 2010 and was thrilled by her experience. “Everything about Steppenwolf blew my mind,” she says. “Their ensemble approach to the entire theater-making process really excited me.”
While completing her senior year at Oberlin, Todd applied and was accepted to Steppenwolf’s apprentice program, which trains college graduates in arts administration and production. As an apprentice in the theater’s publicity department, Todd follows media coverage of Steppenwolf, pitches stories to media outlets, and coordinates photo shoots, interviews, and press-only performances of Steppenwolf productions.
The recipient of a National Medal of Arts in 1998 and nine Tony Awards, Steppenwolf Theatre is one of the most prestigious theatres in the nation. Actors such as John Malkovich, Joan Allen, and Gary Cole have appeared onstage at Steppenwolf, and Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy August: Osage County made its debut there. Most recently, current ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney received a MacArthur Genius Grant.
Though she is currently receiving training with Steppenwolf, Todd is no stranger to arts publicity, as she worked for three years in the publicity office of Oberlin’s theater and dance department. “That experience has been really helpful to me here,” she says.
Todd says that her time acting in productions at Oberlin helped, as well. “The ability to understand other people’s perspectives, and to communicate my own in a way that they can relate to is very important,” she says. “That’s a skill that my training at Oberlin really helped me develop.”
Todd plans to continue using her training onstage and off, both acting and working in arts administration.
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