Although our 2019-20 Season interns have returned home due to COVID-19, we still want to introduce you to them to honor the hard work they put in during the season (and because they’re very cool people).
Meet our Education intern, Joi Wright.
Joi is from Dallas, Texas. She graduated from Iowa State University, where she majored in Performing Arts, with an Acting/Directing Emphasis.
Audrey Rowland: What does theater mean to you? Why is it important?
Joi Wright: There are so many reasons. Theater is important to me because it provides space to be creatively free. It gave me purpose in my life. When I first started acting at around age seven in church, I tapped into this creative realm that I did not know existed. I work with children so much, and they need that creative escape as does everyone in the world. Theater saves lives, I know it saved mine. At some of my lowest points in life, I turned to art for solidarity and understanding.
AR: Speaking of theater, what’s your favorite theatrical production?
JW: My favorite theatrical production that I’ve seen has to be A Raisin in the Sun, performed by Pyramid Theater, which is an all-Black theater company in Des Moines, Iowa. To this day, it’s one of the best shows I have ever seen. Also, Phantom of the Opera was amazing too. It was my first Broadway show and all its technical aspects blew my mind.
AR: In addition to your work in education, you’ve also done some acting. Do you have a favorite show that you’ve been in?
JW: My senior year of college I played the role of Mrs. Jennings in Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility. She was definitely one of my favorite characters to play. She was so witty, wise, and she knew all the tea. Not to mention, she was the life of the party!
AR: If you could give a TED Talk, what would the topic be?
JW: Therapy in Black communities. It is okay to go to therapy! That is it. That is all. It is okay. We all need someone to talk to sometimes.
AR: What was the highlight of the 2019-20 Season at Trinity Rep for you?
JW: I have so many. For the Project Discovery student matinee performances, the Associate Education Director Matthew Tibbs, or Tibbs, as we call him, would give the opening spiel before each show to the students, and I would facilitate the talkbacks after each show. For August Wilson’s Radio Golf, Tibbs asked if I wanted to do the opening spiel with him. Since that was our educational center piece show I was already so invested, so getting to do that with him was the icing the cake. Honestly, being able to share my love of theater with students and watching them grow in ways imaginable will forever be a highlight for me.
AR: During your internship, you were a key member of Trinity Rep’s Education team. What was that like?
JW: Oh, it was such a good time. Don’t get me wrong, I was really nervous at first. The whole Education department (Jordan Butterfield, Tibbs, and Natalie Dreyer), were the best teachers and provided such a motivational workspace. They gave me time to really find my groove, and I did. There was never a dull moment where I felt like I wasn’t learning. They pushed me to be the best version of me. I’ve directed, written plays, lead workshops, facilitated talkbacks, created study guides — the list goes on and on. This was hands-down the best internship I’ve had, even though it ended a little earlier than expected. Name a better Education team…I’ll wait.
AR: On that note, what advice would you give to next year’s Education intern?
JW: Have the most fun, ask a lot of questions, do things that you never thought you’d do, and don’t be afraid to fail, that comes with success. It’ll all be worth it in the end.
AR: Do you have any hobbies?
JW: Acting and singing. Aside from that, I write all the time. I love writing poetry and monologues. It’s soothing for the soul. I’ve actually been working on a book of poetry — stay tuned. I also love doing hair. Another highlight of my internship: when I did Tonia Jackson’s hair for Radio Golf.
AR: And last, but not least, what’s a fun fact about you?
JW: I hate wearing socks. I hate it. Even when it’s cold out, I dread wearing socks.