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Summer is usually an exciting time for the OTC Apprenticeship. In May, some apprentices complete their contract and move on. Others are working on their capstone project and preparing to take the next step in their career come August. New apprentices start trickling in. However, this year has disrupted the usual pattern. We checked in with a few of the apprentices to see where they’re at and how they’re doing.

OTC Apprentices live and work on OTC’s campus. At the start of the stay-at-home order, many of us chose to move back in with our parents or elsewhere. Where did you end up? 

Chelsea Dean, Props Apprentice: I stayed at OTC for a week or so but now I am at home with my husband and stepson on the eastern shore of Maryland.

Hannah Ensign, Education Apprentice: I stayed at OTC. 

Eleanor Hill, Company Management Apprentice: I stayed at Olney. 

Sarah Kiker, Dramaturgy Apprentice: I chose to stay at Olney along with four other apprentices. I’m originally from a small town in Texas, and I didn’t want to travel from a place that had a large number of cases to one that had almost none. Also, it’s been nice to have the company of the other apprentices who’ve stuck around. 

Caitlin O’Brien, Costume Apprentice:  I’m staying with family in Silver Spring. I thought I would be gone from the OTC campus for about two weeks, so I only brought enough clothes for that amount of time. Little did I know that two weeks would turn into 2 and a half, going on three, months! 

Sunny Cushing-Spiller, Carpentry Apprentice: I've been staying with my significant other. I didn't want to stay at my home nearby as my parents are older and somewhat immunocompromised.

Gabriela Schulman, Artistic Apprentice: Because my family lives about 30 minutes away from OTC, I have moved back in with them during the quarantine. We also had my great aunt move in with us and it has been amazing to spend so much time with her

How have you been spending your time while social distancing? 

Chelsea Dean, Props Apprentice: We have been renovating our house, working on our goal of reading all of Shakespeare's plays, and learning how to roller skate.

Hannah Ensign, Education Apprentice: I am reading, watching Dimensions 20, painting, doing some cooking and baking, playing Dungeons and Dragons, and hanging out with the other apprentices who stayed at OTC. 

Eleanor Hill, Company Management Apprentice: Lots of playing DnD and making dice. When reality is overwhelming, it’s nice to escape into a fantasy world where you can be the hero.  

Sarah Kiker, Dramaturgy Apprentice: When I’m not working, I’m probably playing or prepping DnD games. I run a game for the apprentices and we meet over Google Hangouts on Monday nights. I’ve also been running a game for a group I’ve played DnD with for going on four years now. We’ve been able to meet three or four times a week, which means I feel especially close to them these days. Otherwise, I’ve slowly been tackling all of the cliched quarantine projects. I’ve got a 4-star Animal Crossing Island, I’ve knitted a scarf that’s about 10 feet long, and my sourdough starter—named Geralt—is thriving and producing delicious bread.  

Caitlin O’Brien, Costume Apprentice:  I have been baking, exercising, reading, practicing my figure drawing, working through my “My List” on Netflix, and talking to friends and family way more often. I taught an all-ages yoga class over Zoom for OTC for about 5-6 weeks, and that was an awesome experience. One of my favorite quarantine traditions is my cousin and I try a new cocktail every Saturday, and have a virtual happy hour with my family! 

Sunny Cushing-Spiller, Carpentry Apprentice: I've been crafting junk journals and making new recipes for meals to broaden my cooking abilities. Also, I've been playing Pokemon, Mario, and Animal Crossing cause those are some of my favorite games since I was a kid. 

Gabriela Schulman, Artistic Apprentice: I ended up starting my own business selling custom portraits and stickers, GSchuDesigns which has been super fun. 

What are your plans going forward? 

Chelsea Dean, Props Apprentice: Keep working on our house and our sweet skating moves while staying sane and safe. Once theatres can open back up, I would like to continue to do props and direct. I am also trying to create a new playwriting festival led by alumni at my university.

Hannah Ensign, Education Apprentice: I am hoping to stay in the area and work as a freelance teaching artist. 

Eleanor Hill, Company Management Apprentice: My plans going forward have changed since quarantine has started and I’m sure they will continue to change. What has not changed is my love for working in theatre. This is my passion and although I will likely have to find a job in another field for the next year or two, I can’t wait to help create something fantastic on the stage again. 

Sarah Kiker, Dramaturgy Apprentice: There’s so much uncertainty right now, so it’s difficult to make solid plans. I’m hoping to stay in the area, find a job that helps me continue to sharpen my writing skills, and look forward to a day when I can at least go to the theatre again. In between all of that, I’ll continue to look for ways to create and tell stories.

Caitlin O’Brien, Costume Apprentice: In a perfect world, my plans going forward would have been to start freelancing as a costume technician and dresser in the DC area. I have been spending a lot of time making back up plans and back up plans to those plans, too. I’m looking at freelancing when the time feels right for me(social distancing restrictions lifted and it feels safe to go back to work), temping, and nannying. I’m moving to Arlington in Virginia, so I’m excited about that!

Sunny Cushing-Spiller, Carpentry Apprentice: Moving forward is honestly scary. My S/O and I are both technicians and will be looking for work and new housing come August as the shop he worked at is shutting down. Since several theatres in the area are waiting to put on shows until later in the year, we're nervous but keeping our ears out for who will be running and have either gig work or full-time positions available. Looking for new housing at the same time, we've also been brainstorming backup plans for temporary jobs until we can find enough theatre work to pay bills. It's intimidating but we're trying to stay positive and plan accordingly. 

Gabriela Schulman, Artistic Apprentice: I am not sure what my plan after Olney is, but I am so grateful to have had this experience with such an amazing company that treats everyone like family. I have learned so much from my mentors and I definitely want to continue with casting in the future.

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