Explore your potential at the Grand Opera House with the Summer Internship

Explore your potential with a Grand
Summer Internship!

If you don’t know what you want to be when you grow up but you are considering a career in the theater, The Grand Opera House has an opportunity for you! The Grand Summer Internship is a 12-week intensive exploration of technical theater and what goes into putting a theatrical production together from all angles.

Who Should apply for the internship?

We encourage anyone who is interested in pursuing any aspect of theatre to apply. This is a great opportunity for motivated individuals to learn about what happens behind the scenes of a production. This experience is great for anyone who is considering a theater degree or has already decided to work in the theater, teach theater, or looks forward to being a part of a community theater in the future. Not only does this internship focus on the physical building of a show, there are also lessons in time management, teamwork, marketing, and organization all necessary for a successful production. Interns get a chance to work with theater professionals in a hands-on learning environment in all aspects of theater including:

• Set construction and painting
• Costume construction
• Lighting Hang and Focus
• Stage Management

• Marketing and Public Relations
• Arts administration
• Box Office and Front of House

What are the details?

The Grand offers a limited number of paid summer technical theater internships for those seeking their place in the world of theater, ages 18-24. Interns work closely with our Technical Director each day, and spend time with props, costumes, box office, and office staff on an as needed basis.

This 12 week intensive program will begin Monday, May 17, 2021 and end on Sunday, August 8, 2021.

Compensation is an $1,800 stipend for the 12-week internship, paid in installments every 2 weeks.

Deadline to apply is March 31, 2021

Only applications with all of the following will be considered:
  • A completed Application
  • Please write a short essay, 500-750 words, to tell us about yourself and why you would like to be a technical intern at The Grand Opera House.
  • Attach your resume, including at least two references and/or letters of recommendation.
  • On a separate sheet, please include the dates for any conflicts during the internship.

For more information, contact
Frank McClain
Executive and Artistic Director
The Grand Opera House
135 8th Street
Dubuque, IA 52001
(563) 588-4356

Click here to find out where the interns from past years are now!


• Q: Is this only a technical internship? Or will I have to do other stuff too?

A: Everyone at the Grand works as a team. Even our technical director, Tracey, occasionally helps out with some of the administrative tasks like putting up posters, or sending out letters. While this internship is primarily a technical internship, you will spend a little bit of time working with our Box Office Manager and Marketing Coordinator; Michelle, our Executive Director, and our Office Manager; Mary. It takes a whole team of people working together behind the scenes to make a show happen, as an intern you become a part of that team.

• Q: When you say “technical internship” what do you mean?

A: Our interns work closely with our technical director, Tracey. He is directly responsible for building the set, hanging and focusing the lights, creating the sound cues, and any special effects that a show requires. He also oversees the costume and props department heads. As a technical intern you will be working directly with Tracey on set building, lighting, and sound, but you will also have the opportunity to work occasionally with our Costumers and Props Artists, depending on the needs of the show.

• Q: What hours will I be working?

A: The hours vary greatly, and depend upon the needs of the shows. All interns should review our summer show schedule; you will be expected to work all performances that fall within the dates of the internship. Additionally, you will be working closely with our technical staff most of the time. Our technical staff, like most theaters works many long hours at “non-traditional” times, you will be expected to work a similar schedule. This is not a Monday- Friday 9am to 5pm position.

• Q: Can I work a second job?

A: The Grand Opera House expects that this opportunity will be your primary commitment for the summer. Due to the variability in hours, it is not advised that you take on additional work for the summer.

• Q: Can I perform in a show this summer while I am interning?

A: We discourage our interns from performing while participating in the internship. We know that many of the applicants have a variety of interests they are pursuing while finding their place in the theater world. This internship is a chance for you to really explore your technical theater interests, which means you need to be focused on the backstage elements of the production.

• Q: I heard that the interns go on trips and stuff, is that true?

A: We do not have any regularly scheduled field trips, but we view this internship as an educational experience. In the past, some groups of interns have had the opportunity to attend productions at other theaters and go on a backstage tour of another facility. There is no guarantee that this will happen every year. Interns do frequently participate in shopping trips for supplies, or to other local venues to borrow items.

• Q: What if the internship starts before I am done with school?

A: We are willing to make some accommodations for students who are completing their course work. Please make sure that you include this information in your application.

• Q: What if I already have a trip scheduled for this summer? Or I have orientation for college?

A: In the past, we have been able to work around some previous engagements. Please include all dates for potential conflicts with your application. We are much more likely to work around a conflict we are aware of upfront than something you tell us about after the fact. Also, a substantial number of conflicts within the dates of the internship may affect the status of your application, or continued employment.