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Lift The Curtain – End Unpaid Arts Internships

Michael S. Eddy • Industry NewsTheatre Buzz • June 24, 2020

Jay Duckworth, Eric Hart, Katie McGeorge, and other interested industry members have created a new task force – Lift The Curtain – that looks to end unpaid, and underpaid, arts internships. This has been a cause for a number of people in our industry and they started amplifying a public conversation that Eric Hart started recently when he posted his beliefs on social media.

A description on the Lift The Curtain Facebook Page:
“We recognize that the arts have used a person’s wealth and privilege as a way of gatekeeping whether intentionally or unintentionally. We also recognize that this has held back a lot of talented artists from getting experience and connections in the industry through no fault of their own. Lastly, we are calling on all artists to join our fight end this practice by the end of the 2020 calendar year.”

Lift The Curtain has created a Google survey to collect preliminary data on unpaid/underpaid internships in the theatre. (Kudos to Eric Hart for creating this Google survey!) Please fill this out if you’ve ever been an unpaid or underpaid (below minimum wage) intern.

This task force is in active development. They are working on a website, social media handles, statements, pledges, petitions, and more efforts to distill their voices into a clear message. We have work to do on refining the big picture tactics: working with the financial stakeholders to restructure company budgets, solicit donations, and generate funds in order to practically support the transition to paid labor. These developments will take time. If you have ideas and want to be involved with strategizing, please reach out to the task force via email: endunpaidtheatreinternships@gmail.com

In the meantime, the task force is using the Lift The Curtain Facebook Group to get the conversation started. What brought you here? How have unpaid internships affected you personally? Have you ever been an unpaid intern? Have you hired one? Taught one? Paid to work? Been unable to take an unpaid internship? What was your experience like? Let’s share these stories, leading with honesty, accountability, and vulnerability about how labor exploitation has affected people.

Let’s #LiftTheCurtain on the practice of using unpaid, and underpaid, internships!

 

 

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