A Spotlight on Junior Intern, Hannah Stenback

Meet Hannah Stenback! Hannah is a Junior Intern with CTC’s Theatre Arts Training. We sat down with Hannah to talk about her experience as a Junior Intern and hear about her plans as a future educator. 

CTC’s Junior Internship program allows high school students with an interest in theatre education to learn alongside our veteran teaching staff and industry professionals here at CTC. Click Here for more information about this and other teen opportunities at CTC! 

How did you become interested in theatre and theatre education?​
My love for theatre first began when I played the nursery rhyme character, Little Miss Muffet, in my school’s annual 2nd grade musical. I was only onstage for a brief moment in which I screamed and exited offstage quite dramatically, but I absolutely loved it! My parents signed me up for various community education plays and this is where my passion grew. Through the guidance of excellent theatre teachers, I found out about Anoka Middle School for the Arts, a magnet school in which I was able to take theater and dance classes at school, and then St. Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists where I currently attend and am lucky enough to take a multitude of classes geared towards a career in acting. I am greatly appreciative of all the teaching artists that have influenced and guided my passion and this led me to jump at the chance to work as a junior intern. I love the idea of being able to impact a child’s love for theater in the same way so many others have done for me.

What are your future plans/goals?
Next year I plan on attending college where I hope to double major in elementary education and theatre. With the help of this junior internship I have discovered another passion of mine, teaching. I am not simply interested in theatre and possibly pursuing a career as an actor, but also in teaching the next generation of students, whether it be in a traditional classroom or in a theatre class similar to the ones at CTC. I am not positive of my exact career path after college, but I hope to combine my two passions and have many opportunities to do so.

How has this experience challenged you and prepared you for your next steps in life?
Being a junior intern has allowed me to improve my leadership capabilities and grow in my confidence. The teaching artists often give us an opportunity to lead several classroom activities, which can be quite daunting. As I have had more experience, I have grown more comfortable in my abilities and have evolved quite a bit. Immersing myself in the classroom and working alongside several teaching artists, I have been able to learn from experience rather than traditional classroom style lessons. This will allow me to look for learning opportunities in everything I do and to always be curious.

What inspires you to work with young people?
As an actor, I feel it is our job to constantly play and break out of the societal conventions that have been ingrained in us. Working to be authentic and vulnerable onstage takes a lot of work and imagination. Young people hold on to such incredible imaginations and ideas. They have not yet been told these dreams and thoughts are not always “realistic” so they are able to come up with highly intricate and unique stories. I am constantly being inspired by the stories they tell and love being able to foster their imaginations.

What is the best part about being a Junior Intern with Theatre Arts Training?
Working with the students. It is so much fun to connect with them and learn what they are passionate about and hear them share their stories. It is always exciting when a student who is having a harder time in class starts to open up and gain confidence after I have worked with them more individually. All the students bring their distinct energies to the class and it is exciting to see what they can create and how they all learn together.

What advice do you have for people thinking about being a Junior Intern?
Even for people who know working with kids is not their passion, I would say to try it anyways. It is an excellent opportunity to meet teaching artists within the community and be inspired by the ideas the students come up with. It allows you to grow a new set of skills that you might not get the chance to exercise often and grow in your confidence. I think it is always important to learn new skills and see how these can impact your current work and passions.