Olney Theatre Center believes arts education plays an essential role in our nation’s cultural health. This is one of the values that fuels our apprentice program. Our apprentice program offers early career artists a bridge to their future careers in theatre. For one full season, 16 apprentices live on Olney Theatre Center’s campus and work in every facet of the profession, alongside professional actors, designers, directors, arts administrators, and more. Living where you work is a very unique experience that comes with its own joys and challenges. In addition to the hard work the apprentices do every day, we are sure to find fun ways to connect with each other and enjoy all of the offerings of the DC-metro area. Read on to learn about all the fun things the apprentices do after hours!
Impromptu Breakfast Banquets
If you were here around the holidays to see Elf the Musical, then you know that Buddy puts a substantial amount of syrup to use in that show. Of course, we had to have lots of syrup on hand to make sure it would last for seven shows a week! When the show ended we had a ton of leftover syrup that was then gifted to the apprentices. We decided we needed to try to make use of that syrup, and a huge breakfast was the perfect way to do it. Then luck was really in our favor and we had a snow day Sunday-- rehearsal was canceled which meant all the apprentices were officially free!
We made a huge breakfast that included pancakes, waffles, sausage, bacon, fruit, french toast, eggs, and diced potatoes! It was delicious, fun, and a great way to make use of the unanticipated free day. One of the best things about all living together is we can make things like that happen pretty quickly.
(But we should note, we barely made a dent in our syrup supply with this breakfast. Three months later and we still have half a bottle left!)
Field Trips to Other Theatres
Other theatres have similar apprentice programs and we like to get to know each other when given the opportunity. Our Education apprentice often organizes field trips for us to visit other theatres. Usually, we get a tour, talk to our counterparts at the other theatre, and then get to see a show! This is not only a great way to network, but also a fun chance to get to see what’s on stages other than ours. And we’re always sure to return the favor. In fact, we’re going to have some apprentices from other theatres at our dress rehearsal for Ken Ludwig’s A Comedy of Tenors next week.
Life in the theatre means we often have reasons to celebrate. Since many of us are far from home, we don’t necessarily get to spend all the special times with our families. So, we throw parties here for everyone to have a good time. We’ve thrown parties for birthdays, Halloween, winter holidays, and even Valentine’s Day! And these are no small affairs. There’s food, drinks, decorations, party favors-- and we even get our electrics apprentice to hook up some colored lights that are in theme. We often invite the casts of whatever shows are running or in rehearsal, as well as other friends we have in the area. Some might say The Porch (which is what we call our living room) is the best club in Olney.
Greene Turtle Karaoke
There is one other place in Olney that is almost as fun as Olney Theatre Center. And that’s the Greene Turtle. Specifically on Wednesday nights, when they have karaoke! Especially because starting at 10pm, they have half priced appetizers and two-for-one drinks. Apprentices are often working late on shows or in rehearsal, so this is a great way to end the night. And as a group of theatre kids, you can only imagine how much fun we have when we get ahold of a microphone!
Our apprentice program is an excellent way to prepare early career professionals for their future, by providing relevant work experience and relationships with current professionals. But in addition to getting to work with current professionals, we’re also developing relationships with future professionals. Our fellow apprentices here that we live and work with will also likely be our coworkers in the near future! Luckily, the things we do together and the bonds we build ensure that we’re not only future coworkers, but also great friends.