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Nell Bang-Jensen ’11

bang_jensen_nell2.jpgNell Bang-Jensen ’11, an English literature major and theater minor, received a Swarthmore grant to support her project in the literary department of InterAct Theatre Company in Philadelphia.

I spent my summer in the literary department of InterAct Theater Company in Philadelphia. My main focus was to create a casebook for an upcoming production that will help to guide the director, actors, and designers. Another aspect of my work involved reading and evaluating new scripts—a great opportunity to read a variety of plays in development while honing in on what does and doesn’t work for a particular company.

I chose to work with InterAct because it allowed me to further explore work as a dramaturg. I became interested in this particular aspect of theater after taking a class in dramaturgy with James Magruder, a visiting professor, during my sophomore year. As a student of theater and English literature, I appreciated how dramaturgy provided a way to apply my knowledge from both disciplines to a work of theater. It requires thinking about plays more analytically—as I would with an English course—and it has allowed me to realize the connections between my work in the classroom and the work done in professional theater.

I worked in a small office with five or six other people. My summer colleagues split up days in the office doing administrative tasks, but we met up once a week to update each other on our casebooks. Much of the work involved reading scripts or conducting research, but we also sat in on rehearsals and listened to notes from the director and dramaturg.

My location in Philadelphia allowed me to balance my time between InterAct and nighttime rehearsals for a play with the Telephone Bronco Theater Company for the 2010 Philly Fringe Festival.

I’m exploring the idea of a career in theater, and it’s been amazing to have had a hands-on experience with a professional company. It has solidified my passion for theater and a desire to stay involved in the arts.

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