Your Cart UMS

21st Century Artist Internship

The ever-changing landscape of the performing arts world requires new skill sets of the 21st Century performing artist. Artists must be adept at connecting with communities and potential audiences in innovative and unexpected ways. They must be able to speak dynamically about their work, share their creative processes, provide interactive experiences for novice audience members, and transmit themselves and their artistry through a number of media platforms. They must appreciate and embrace the necessity for entrepreneurialism and audience engagement strategies that go beyond pure performance.

The School of Music, Theatre & Dance EXCEL Lab and UMS created the 21st Century Artist Internship program to address these needs. Selected students will intern for 5 to 7 weeks during the summer, between June and August 2024, with a professional dance, theater, or music ensemble that UMS plans to present on its upcoming season or with which it has a long-standing relationship.

UMS presents ensembles from all over the world, and so students will likely be assigned to intern in major metropolitan or international locations. Students will only be assigned to international locations if they have a valid passport.

The scope and dates of the internship will be negotiated by UMS, the company/ensemble and the student prior to their acceptance of the position. Interns can expect to know their placement by or before April 30, 2024. As the placement process is complex, please note that, while the student’s professional interests will be considered in the matching of interns with ensemble, UMS cannot guarantee the applicant’s first choice of performing arts discipline. This is a highly competitive internship; we ask that all finalists hold a 5-7 week window for placement during the months of June to August. 

Upon return to campus, interns will participate in a debrief meeting with UMS staff to assess their experience, learning goals, and determine a plan for their responsibilities while the company/ensemble they interned with is presented in Ann Arbor. Students are also expected to enroll for credit in ARTSADMN 491/591 and complete a final paper on their experience.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Summer 2024

During their internship, each student will research and prepare contextualizing materials about the company/ensemble with which they are placed for use during their 2024-2025 presentation as part of the UMS season. These materials are dependent on the needs of the company in relation to their UMS visit and will require the intern to serve as a liaison between the organizations to ensure effective communication. (Projects may include, but are not limited to: an on-camera interview with creative staff from the company/ensemble, documenting the internship experience through video and photographs, creating social media content, or writing a UMS blog post about the internship experience.) 21st Century Artist interns are expected to check in regularly with their UMS supervisor, as agreed upon during the onboarding process.

Fall 2024-Winter 2025

Upon returning to campus, the student will enroll in ARTSADMN 491/591 (one-credit independent study) during the semester in which their assigned company is visiting the U-M campus (Fall 2024 or Winter 2025.) The intern will serve as the U-M and UMS ambassador of the company/ensemble. Please note that each company/ensemble will have its own unique needs and strategies, so duties may vary between interns, but responsibilities will be identified, agreed to and clarified during supervisor meetings.

General Responsibilities (experiences may vary; this list represents a range of possibilities):

  • Collaborate on creating and leading residency activities with the UMS Learning & Engagement Department and ensemble/company in anticipation of their presentation in Ann Arbor
  • Attend and support learning and engagement activities with the company/ensemble during their stay in Ann Arbor
  • Advocate for and promote student attendance at performances by company/ensemble
  • Assist UMS in hosting the company/ensemble while they are onsite in Ann Arbor
  • Support the UMS Marketing & Communications Department to promote the performance 
  • Meet with university classes, UMS Board of Directors, community stakeholders, and UMS or University staff to speak about their experience and promote the internship program
  • Additional duties as assigned

Ideal candidates possess the following:

  • Demonstrated enthusiasm and interest in community-based work, artistic collaboration, and creating meaningful connections between artists and audiences
  • Willingness to work independently and comfortability in asking for direction when needed
  • Curiosity and openness to learning new skills
  • Flexibility and adaptability in fluid and fast-paced environments
  • Critical thinking skills and comfortability in sharing ideas
  • Ability to set and meet deadlines
  • Fluency in utilizing Google suite applications (docs, sheets, forms); familiarity with social media
  • Readiness to travel and a valid passport (for international opportunities)

Internship Timeline (May 2024-2025)

  • Phase 1 (Summer 2024)
    • April 2024: Company/Ensemble Placements
    • May 2024: UMS Onboarding & Orientation
    • June – August 2024: Internship with Company/Ensemble
      • 5-7 week full-time commitment (in US/International location as assigned)
      • 2 Summer check-in meetings with UMS supervisor
  • Phase 2 (2024-2025)
    • UMS Presentation Support & Coursework
    • September 2024: Summer Debrief Meeting & Planning Session
    • F24/W25: Required enrollment in ARTSADMN 491/591
    • TBD: Company/Ensemble Presentation in Ann Arbor as assigned
  • Phase 3 (2024-2025)
    • Assessment & Reporting: Submission of final paper, completion of exit survey, final debrief meeting.

Application Timeline

  • Applications open: December 18, 2023
  • Application deadline: Sunday, January 28, 2024 (11:59 EDT)
  • Finalist Interviews: mid February 2024
  • Successful finalists will be notified of their acceptance by late February 2024.


  • The summer internship stipend is $6,000 USD within the United States ($7,000 USD for international travel.) 
    • The stipend will be disbursed in installments, with $5,500 for US travel and $6,500 for international travel disbursed once placements have been confirmed (towards the end of Winter 2024). The final $500 installment will be disbursed at the completion of the assigned company/ensemble’s UMS presentation during the 2024-25 academic year.
    • Stipends are intended to offset the cost of travel, housing, and living expenses during the summer internship. Students are responsible for organizing and securing their own travel and housing arrangements. 
    • Note: SMTD students awarded funding for internships must follow guidelines for University of Michigan Related Travel (UMRT) in order for awards to be issued. To prepare for travel, please refer to the U-M Global Engagement website for resources on travel safety and wellness. 


Questions? Contact


Application Deadline

Sunday, January 28, 2024 at 11:59 pm


Current undergraduate or graduate students enrolled in the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance that will be returning in the 2024-25 academic year. (Graduating students are not eligible to apply.)

Application Requirements

  • Resume
  • Completed application form, which includes:
    • Name of one faculty recommender
    • Essay questions

Past Recipients and Experiences


Meet the 2024/25 Season 21st Century Artist Interns

Each year, UMS and the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance select students for a unique internship experience. Meet our newest cohort of 21st Century Artist Interns, and learn about the incredible artists and ensembles they'll work with this summer.



Meet the 2023/24 Season 21st Century Artist Interns

Meet our new class of 21st Century Artist Interns and learn about the artists they'll work with over the summer.



21st Century Intern Travelogue: Molly Schwall

21st Century Artist Intern Molly Schwall shares her experiences in California with chamber orchestra Wild Up.



Meet the 2022/23 Season 21st Century Artist Interns

Each year, UMS and the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance pair students with an internship working with dance, theater, and music ensembles in the forefront of their fields....



Meet the 2021/22 Season 21st Century Artist Interns

Each year, UMS and the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance pair students with an internship working for a dance, theater, or music ensemble that UMS will present in...



Meet the 2020/21 Season 21st Century Artist Interns

Each year, UMS and the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance pair students with an internship working for a dance, theater, or music ensemble that UMS will present in its season. In the 2020/21 Season, they will be working directly with UMS staff and Digital Residency Artists.



My Time at the Fringe

21st Century Intern Isabel Olson shares insights on experiencing political theater from her time working at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.



Meet the 2019/20 Season 21st Century Artist Interns

Each year, UMS and the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance pair students with a summer internship working for a dance, theater, or music ensemble that UMS will present in its upcoming season.



21st Century Intern Travelogue: Kandis Terry

“My summer experience as one of four UMS interns is one that I cannot put into words. This opportunity not only gave me the chance to grow as a student, but also...