My Summer Interning at the Historic Buskirk-Chumley Theater

Article written by Melissa, an undergraduate student in the Arts Management program (BSAM) with a focus on music at SPEA. During the academic year, Melissa serves as Vice President of the IU Music Industry Networking Club (MINC) and interns with Spirit of ā€˜68 Promotions in Bloomington, IN. This summer she is currently interning with Buskirk-Chumley Theater in Bloomington, IN. When not working events at the BCT, Melissa loves to enjoy a great cup of coffee and live music of all genres. Connect with Melissa on Twitter @its_sommer_time and Instagram @melissa_sommer.

Greetings from a beautifully sunny Bloomington, IN! This summer I am serving as a Front of House Intern at the historic Buskirk-Chumley Theater in the heart of Downtown Bloomington. I have been working here for almost two months now, and I am constantly being challenged to think outside of the box and Iā€™m learning a lot along the way, not to mention taking in the beauty that is Bloomington in the summertime.

The Buskirk-Chumley Theater, originally named the Indiana Theater, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The theater was built in 1922 as a silent movie house by Harry and Nova Vonderschmitt. In its early years, the theater had a pipe organ for movie accompaniment and live performance. It is said that Hoagy Carmichael led “The Collegians” here from 1925 to 1928. Beautifully restored, the theater is currently managed by BCT Management, Inc., a private non-profit organization with a volunteer Board of Directors. The Buskirk-Chumley has become the primary venue for the Lotus World Music Festival, Indiana University’s African American Arts Institute, Cardinal Stage Company, and Jazz from Bloomington. National acts such as Andrew Bird, Regina Spektor, and John Mellencamp have all graced the stage. The Theater hosts 200 events a year, organized by more than 50 organizations making it one of the busiest community theaters in the country.

Working a daytime shift in the BCT Box Office.

Working a daytime shift in the BCT Box Office.

As a Front of House Intern, my job duties are quite varied. I rotate between a few different positions in the theater: box office, concessions, and house management. My shifts are split two ways – daytime box office and events. Daytime box office shifts consist of answering phones, working with patrons, selling tickets, reading up on future events in Bloomington, and more. Event shifts can consist of anything from selling chocolate and popcorn in the concessions area, to running the whole show as House Manager! In addition to these job duties, I have been given an internship focus for the summer to work on the Social Media Team. It has been really eye-opening to see how a professional organization utilizes the power of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep a loyal following of patrons and while also gaining potential new ones.

One of my favorite parts of this internship so far is getting to work with excited patrons on the night of events that have waited days, weeks, or even months to see a show. It is incredibly rewarding to know that you have helped someone make a lifelong memory while seeing a show here at the BCT.

I am so excited to see what the rest of the summer brings here at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater! I will keep you posted!

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