The theatre is exceedingly competitive. Every year more theatre majors graduate college than there is work available. The best way to break into such an exclusive industry is typically an internship. A fully immersive work experience that gives the participant real-world experience while also creating contacts with professionals already established in the business.
The word “intern” has become a four letter word. A title more associated with getting coffee and doing other menial tasks than actually being provided with any sort of real learning opportunity. At Gloucester Stage we’ve done away with the term and replaced it with one we find much more appropriate: apprentice.
The idea of the apprentice goes back centuries. A younger individual learning a trade from someone more experienced through one-on-one teaching and observation. That is precisely what we look to provide at Gloucester Stage. A truly educational experience to its core. For every apprentice, there is teacher there to guide them.
Stage Management apprentices will have Equity Stage Managers teaching them. Our Directing Apprentice will have six professional directors to observe throughout the season. Our Dramaturgy/Education Apprentice will assist the Youth Acting Workshops Director in planning and running YAW classes. Scenic artists, costume designers, light designers, electrical technicians, marketing directors, and even our Executive Managing Director will all play a crucial role in educating and guiding our apprentices over the eight months of their residencies at Gloucester Stage.
A move towards a Professional Apprentice Company at Gloucester Stage is significant. This is our way of investing in the future practitioners of the theatre. We are providing all apprentices with furnished housing and paying weekly stipends to cover additional needs such as food and entertainment. We’re removing all the barriers in a concerted effort to make the theatre more accessible for those just beginning their careers. And for their counterparts in the audience, ages 25 and under, we’ve set aside a number of seats for each show for just a single dollar.
We are confident that this investment will pay off in spades. Instead of spreading ourselves thin in a variety of directions we are funneling our resources into one mission-based initiative. We are growing our educational programming and giving opportunities to those who may not have otherwise had them. No longer will well educated and fully capable individuals have to work for free with their only compensation being an unquantifiable promise of exposure.
We’re taking these risks because that’s what we’ve always done at Gloucester Stage. And it is what we will continue to do.
*GSC Blog posts are the select opinions of individual employees and may not necessarily reflect the views of Gloucester Stage as a whole.