With our 2019-20 Season underway, we’ve gotten to know our new class of interns (or “Trinterns” as they’re affectionately called). We’re sitting down with each of them now so that our audiences can learn more about who they are too, like where they come from, and why they decided on an internship at Trinity Rep.

Learn more about our artistic management intern, Shanel LaShay Smith.

Shanel is originally from Seattle, Washington, but her home is wherever her friends and family are. She just graduated from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, where she majored in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Theater Technology and Management.

Our marketing intern, Audrey Rowland, sat down recently with Shanel:

Shanel Smith

Audrey: Tell me more about your major and minor.

Shanel: I always wanted to act, but I’m really good at math and science, and when it came to applying to school, I decided to say that I was interested in Engineering. I kept going with that, but I didn’t want to be a traditional engineer. I wanted to find a way to combine my love of the arts and engineering.

Audrey: When you were growing up, what did you want to be?

Shanel: I wanted to be a Supreme Court Justice! I like to argue in a constructive way, and my hero then and now is Thurgood Marshall.

Audrey: Why was this internship exciting for you? Why choose Trinity Rep?

Shanel: I met Curt Columbus at the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, where I participated in the ASPIRE Leadership Fellows program. It’s meant to cultivate a new generation of artistic and administrative leaders in American theater, especially women, men of color, and members of other historically underrepresented groups. Following the fellowship at the Kennedy Center, he encouraged me to apply to Trinity. It’s especially exciting to be the artistic management intern here, because I’m interested in creating art, but also in helping to facilitate the creation of art. In both instances, you’re creating art. But when you facilitate the creation of art, say in arts administration, you are providing a platform and resources for other people to tell their stories in whatever medium they choose.   

Audrey: What do you like to do in your free time?

Shanel: I play sports (tennis, basketball, and track/field). I’m also an amateur photographer. I take pictures of pretty much anything that elicits an emotional response for me. That can be anything! Sometimes, it can even mean tree roots, because I think they’re complicated and they tell a story. If it’s inspiring to me, if it’s beautiful, or if there’s symmetry, I’m there. I like finding patterns and things that don’t make sense. I’d like to try print photography someday! I mostly do digital right now.

Audrey: What’s your favorite theatrical production?

Shanel: Wicked, solely because of Eugene Lee’s set design. He’s the resident scenic designer at Trinity Rep, and that is also one of the reasons I am here: to meet that man. 

Audrey: What does theater mean to you? Why is it important?

Shanel: Theater, to me, is a relational experience that has the power to bring all walks of life together. It’s more than just entertainment; it’s a way to teach, to feel, to grow, to learn.

Audrey: If you could give a TED talk about something, what would it be?

Shanel: I would give it on the importance of arts integration into math and science classes! I’m a huge advocate of STEAM (Science, Technology, Arts, and Mathematics). For a lot of people, the arts and STEM are two entirely different things, but for me, they’re part of the same thing. I used art a lot in school to help me learn, and I think other people could benefit from that too.

Audrey: What are you most looking forward to this 2019-20 Season at Trinity Rep?

Shanel: I mostly came here wanting to learn everything I can! I’m not looking forward to anything in particular, but every week I find another reason why I’m excited to be here.

Audrey: And last, but not least, what’s a fun fact about you?

Shanel: I can ride a unicycle and I can juggle!