Merrimack Repertory Theatre Blog



At the beginning of every season, new interns arrive from across the country and become part of the staff at MRT. The first of our interns we would like to introduce is Steve Burdsall, who is our Lighting & Sound this year.

Where did you grow up, and when did you decide you wanted to work in the theatre?

I was born in the suburbs of Chicago, and I grew up in a lovely suburb called Palatine, Illinois. I started working in the theatre in high school for all of their productions. Working on Tech Crew ended up helping me get a job at Medieval Times in the Sound & Lighting department for a few years during high school and college, and that was a grand old time.

I actually didn’t decide I wanted to work in theatre until a semester into my freshman year of college. It was the first time since 8th grade that I wasn’t doing anything theatre-related, and it made me realize how much I missed it. I started getting involved in the theatre department at the University of Iowa, and their program there is such that I almost immediately changed majors from Engineering to Theatre Arts.

How are you settling into your new home at Merrimack Rep?

For lack of a better term, it’s quieter. At Iowa, I got used to a department of ten electricians, a supervisor, an assistant supervisor, a sound supervisor, and a master electrician. Now there’s Jason….and me. I’m still getting used to that, but it’s not a bad thing….just different.

What show are you most excited to work on this season and why?

I am excited for shows to begin. These first few weeks have all been about installing new speakers or fixing equipment. I just want to hurl myself into a production, which is why I’m excited for this Saturday. Not only is Saturday the first day of tech rehearsal for The Persian Quarter, but it’s also the day of the Iowa-Iowa State football game (Go Hawks!).

What are your responsibilities at the theatre?

My primary duty as the Lighting and Sound intern is to operate the lighting and sound consoles throughout the rehearsal process and for every run of every show all season. The guest lighting designer tells me what lights he wants, and I program them. The guest sound designer, when applicable, gives me sound files to play during the show, and I play them. I’m also in charge of all of the light bulbs, so if you see an “Exit” sign that I haven’t fixed, let me know! Old buildings have surges all the time, so I’m always busy changing bulbs.

What are your plans for the future?

After my time at the MRT is over, I will be looking for another fun theatre job. Internships like this one are great in the sense that they provide stability enough to not have to worry about money, and they really just let me focus on doing what I love. Spending nine months in the same place also gives you a good sense of what it’s like to live somewhere, so maybe after all the snow falls I’ll apply for some internships down in Florida. Who knows?

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