West End Wonder

By Kimberly Nagy, March 22, 2024
Casey Ingraham ’24 landed a dream role interning in the heart of London’s theatre community.

Casey Ingraham ’24 poses in the offices of AKA UK,

Casey Ingraham ’24 poses in the offices of AKA UK, a London-based marketing agency where she did an internship. 

Casey Ingraham ’24, a performer and theatre-lover since middle school, didn’t see herself studying abroad when she started college. “My sister had just gone to Italy at the time, but when my mom asked me if I wanted to study abroad, I said no,” she recalled.

That was then. As soon as Ingraham transferred to Ithaca College, where she double majored in theatre arts management and television and digital media production, she learned about the reputable Ithaca College London Center (ICLC). The opportunity to live, study, and work in London for a semester directly aligned with her career goals and personal mission: “I think the United Kingdom has a really good grasp on merging theatre and television. I wanted to learn more about it.”

The drama devotee found the perfect opportunity when she scored an internship with AKA UK, a London-based marketing agency that specializes in theatre and film—with clients as high profile as the Royal Shakespeare Company and Harry Potter series producer Sonia Friedman Productions. “My biggest reason for going to London was the ability to work at AKA UK because I knew ICLC had that established connection,” she said.

Ingraham recalled feeling overwhelmed when she first arrived at Heathrow Airport. But, as she took in her surroundings, her nervousness quickly shifted to elation. “I remember feeling so giddy looking out the window in the back of an Uber and getting to see London for the first time,” she said.

A week later, Ingraham saw the West End for the first time, too, when she arrived for her first day of work at AKA UK. The office was located across the street from the musical Harry Potter and the Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre, in the heart of London’s theatre district. “It was surreal,” she laughed. “Inside, I saw posters up from previous clients everywhere. Looking at the conference rooms, I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this is actually happening.’”

It got better. Her team at AKA wanted Casey to get exactly the kind of hands-on experience she’d hoped for. Her first week, she worked at the legendary Harry Potter “Return to Hogwarts” event at King’s Cross railway station.

“I learned how much it takes to mount and keep a commercial show afloat, whether that’s in the West End or on Broadway.”

Casey Ingraham ’24

Casey Ingraham poses in front of a display for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Casey Ingraham attends a showing of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

At AKA, Ingraham ventured into new professional terrain as a data insights and ticketing intern, a role she fell in love with. “I’d never worked in insights or analytics. I was very interested to see how that aspect of the industry works,” Ingraham said. She analyzed and updated spreadsheets, interpreted data related to ticket sales and performance, and made informed recommendations for marketing campaigns. “I learned how much it takes to mount and keep a commercial show afloat, whether that’s in the West End or on Broadway,” she said. “Working in data insights is so important to any marketing campaign because you can’t measure success without it.”

The many titles she analyzed for AKA included Cabaret, Sunset Boulevard, Tina, Dear England, and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, among others. During one exhilarating moment, as she sat in the audience of Sunset Boulevard, she felt a sense of pride when AKA’s name appeared in the final credits. “I was so grateful to have so many new relationships come out of that internship. It really affirmed my feelings about the industry—how friendly, open, and creative it is. It affirmed my sense of what people are like in this industry and what it should look like to work even in such an intense, high-stakes job.”

Help Celebrate the London Center’s 50th anniversary!

In 1972, the first group of adventurous Ithaca College students traveled to England. Today the Ithaca College London Center—among the longest-standing U.S.-based study abroad programs in London—continues to welcome students for a semester or summer of learning and exploration. Over the years, thousands of Ithaca College students, faculty, and staff have called the IC London Center “home,” while creating a special bond that now spans five decades.

Our yearlong celebration of the London Center’s 50 years (and counting) will culminate in a one-of-a-kind reunion, June 28–30, 2024. Alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of Ithaca College are invited to meet in London for all or part of this multiday event, which will include an anniversary reception, pub nights, tours of London landmarks, and a boat cruise on the River Thames. Learn more and register by April 1 at ithaca.edu/London-50.

Ingraham returned home transformed, with a new sense of adventure—exploring five new countries with friends—and a new understanding of herself. They were lessons she found easy to translate when she returned. “I came back to Ithaca with this new sense of ability and new sense of how to take care of myself,” she said.

Working and studying in London brought Ingraham entirely new perspectives while deepening her love of the theatre and entertainment industry. “I’ve achieved my dream, and I’m only 21,” she said.

Of course, Ingraham can't wait to apply what she learned to her next dream: "As I enter the next stage of my career, I hope to move to New York City to pursue my interest in entertainment management or marketing. If I could pick a dream niche industry, it'd be producing every musical as a movie-musical for the rest of time.”