Olney Theatre Center believes that arts education plays an essential role in our nation’s cultural health. That’s why in addition to our arts integration program, we offer apprenticeships. The apprenticeship program is a year long experience intended to offer emerging theater artists a bridge between university and the profession. For one year, 16 apprentices live and work on OTC’s campus in every facet of the organization. Meet our Company Management apprentice, Elynora Sapp!
Company Management Apprentice
Hometown: Marianna, FL
What is the path that brought you to OTC?
I began my journey in theatre at Chipola College with interest in performance and stage management. After obtaining my Associate of Arts degree, I transferred to Auburn University and graduated with my BFA degree in Theatre Management. Nearing the end of my studies, I began to look for apprenticeships, with the assistance of my mentor Sarah Chandler, and discovered the posting for OTC’s Apprenticeship program. Company Management is special because not a lot of schools offer specific experience in that so I was really drawn to this apprenticeship.
What are you working on right now?
We just finished a big tech weekend for the American Premiere of Oil by Ella Hickson! So I have been organizing departure travel for designers and pulling expense numbers to look where we are at in comparison to the budget. I’m also wrapping up contracts for the upcoming shows and beginning to work on drafting contracts for next season. I do a lot of work in regards to housing and resident living, ensuring that everyone is comfortable and taken care of. We have lots of excel sheets and calendars to maintain, one that I recently made called “CoMa Clue”, which lays out who is moving in, how they are traveling and other details of their stay.
What is something you are looking forward to?
I am looking forward to welcoming the new wave of apprentices! My contract is until August but 11 of the current apprentices finish their contracts in May. While I am sad to say goodbye to those friends, I am excited to see new faces around here and show them the ropes. With new people comes new housing challenges and preparation!
What are you planning to do for your Capstone?
I will have two Capstones! I will be lead Company Manager on our final show of the season, Tiger Style! I also have interest in the artistic aspects of theatre and expressed this during my 3 month review. We talked through some possibilities, and decided that I will take on Assistant Directing for Jason King Jones on Ken Ludwig’s A Comedy of Tenors. I am very much looking forward to these opportunities.
What's special about Olney Theatre Center?
So much! One of the things that drew me to Olney was how long it has been around. It has really made its mark in the community and DMV area. It’s nice to work for a company that has its roots in the ground, full of tradition, while still aiming for change and growth.
Tell us about your nieces.
Ah! My nieces Milo and Halo are stars of the office (mostly advocated by Artistic and Casting Apprentice, Rachel Grandizio). My two sisters each have a daughter and live in my hometown of Marianna, Florida with the rest of my family (who were unfortunately just heavily impacted by Hurricane Michael in October). Being away from my family has been hard, but receiving photos and videos of Halo taking her first steps and Milo starting to speak in full sentences really makes me feel connected to home as I pursue my profession. Also, thank goodness for Facetime!
What’s your favorite spot on campus?
This is a hard one! I’d say it is an even split between my bedroom on the second floor of the Crawford House and the Production Office on the first floor (a short commute to work which I love!). I have one roommate, Kasey Logan, one of the carpentry apprentices, whom I didn’t know until we shook hands in our bedroom on our first day here. I had never had a roommate before but it has developed into one of the best friendships.
As for the Production Office, it’s always full of energy. I remember my first day when they showed me to the office I thought “Wow! I have my own desk! My own phone extension! Mama, I’ve made it!” This is one of the many things I love about Olney- the amount of responsibility I am given as an Apprentice and the resources and support provided to ensure that I succeed. There is so much support in this office. We decorate for holidays, offer a safe space for people to vent and problem solve as a team when new challenges arise. (Also so much female power!!)