Teen getting experience, making connections as Indiana Festival Theatre intern
Many 17-year-olds are spending their last weeks of summer swimming and hanging out with friends. Basie Cobine is taking notes and tracking props.
The Bloomington High School North senior is spending her summer as an intern at Indiana Festival Theatre. She is working as an assistant stage manager for “Seussical the Musical” — the third show she’s worked on this summer.
“Stage managing is my favorite thing,” said Cobine, who is a stage manager for productions at North. “I like that I can know what’s going on everywhere and can deal a little bit with every part of the production process.”
As an intern, Cobine works with “Seussical” stage manager Tiffany Lutz and assistant stage manager Alexander Allen to make sure productions go off without a hitch.
“It’s kind of early in the process for ‘Seussical’ now,” Cobine said. “We’re taking down blocking notes, and I’ve been props tracking. Alexander and I have been trading off doing things like sweeping the room and running errands around the building.” If anyone needs a practice piano brought upstairs, Cobine makes it happen.
The teen, who has worked on the run crew for a Bloomington Playwrights Project production and as a spotlight operator for the Cardinal Stage Company production of “Hairspray” already this summer, credits her involvement in the theater world to her high school mentor, teacher Francesca Sobrer.
“She would tell me, ‘Hey, go try out this thing at the BPP.’ She was the one who first told me about Indiana Festival Theatre,” said Cobine, who is now in her third summer as an intern for the IFT.
With Sobrer’s encouragement, Cobine started volunteering at various Bloomington theaters.
“That kind of built a connection,” Cobine said. “They started reaching out to me, or I would reach out to them about doing different shows.”
As a result, Cobine now holds an extensive resume that also includes work at the Jewish Theatre of Bloomington and the 2015 Ike and Julie Arnove Playoffs at BPP.
“I just go in and do my job, and everything works out. I don’t feel the need to impress anyone,” she said.
Being a part of theater productions takes a lot of time, with rehearsals sometimes running from 1-10 p.m., but Cobine has nowhere she would rather spend her summers.
“It started as a hobby because I’ve always enjoyed seeing the process come together, but when I started getting paid for it, I was like ‘Why not? Why not do this all the time?’” Cobine said.
“I don’t do very much outside of theater,” she said. “I don’t like shopping or swimming, so I have no problem spending my whole summer doing it, because it’s just what I like to do.”
And when she does not get out of rehearsal until late at night, Cobine says, her parents understand.
“They’re very supportive,” she said. “My dad worked as a spotlight operator at the IU Musical Arts Center many years ago, and now they’re both really dedicated to their own jobs, so they get it.”
Though Cobine says there’s nothing like seeing the hard work pay off with great shows night after night, her involvement in the Indiana Festival Theatre has an added bonus: connections.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity to have already made some connections with IU and the theater,” Cobine said. “It’s quite lucky.”
But until then, Cobine is happy with the work she’s doing as an intern and volunteer.
“It’s really great to know that you’ve been a part of something successful,” she said.
If you go
WHAT: “Seussical the Musical”
WHEN: Friday Saturday and Aug. 4-8, 14 and 15 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday and Aug. 8, 9, 15 and 16 at 2 p.m.
WHERE: Wells-Metz Theatre on the IU campus.
MORE: Tickets are $12-$25 and can be purchased online at https://oss.ticketmaster.com/aps/iuartstd/EN/buy/browse#.