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Saturday, September 23, 2023

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Theatre Design Student Wins Hemsley Internship

A coveted internship provides design experience with top national organizations.
By Jack Haworth

As graduation draws nears, students focus on translating their skills learned in school to the professional world.

For theatre lighting and design students, there is no better way to accomplish that goal than with the Hemsley Internship.

Conor Mulligan

Conor Mulligan, a San Diego State University MFA in theatre production design student was recently selected for the highly sought after internship. Mulligan was the only person selected for the nine-month internship beginning in June.

The opportunity will give him the chance to work as a lighting assistant with several high profile arts companies including the Lincoln Center Festival, San Francisco Opera and the New York City Ballet.

Bridging college and career

“This internship will be a perfect bridge from student life to professional life,” Mulligan said.

He is looking forward to the opportunity to work with several top lighting designers and getting to work on different things with each different company.

“One of the most important aspects of the internship is being able to meet these amazing lighting designers and directors that you may not have the opportunity to run into directly out of school,” he said.

When Mulligan heard he had been chosen, he was overcome with emotion. “After I found out, the first thing I did was call my mom and we cried, which was nice,” Mulligan said.

Faculty mentors made the difference

Mulligan credits much of his success to his mentors at SDSU including Craig Wolf, the head of the theatre design program, for helping him expand his skills.

“Craig really pushed my eye and made me think about what lighting is appropriate for each moment in the play,” Mulligan said. “How to be very specific with each lighting choice.”

With Mulligan set to graduate this month, receiving this internship came as a big relief. He also hopes this experience will propel him into a lighting designer career.