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 Sound Apprentice, Kaitlyn Sapp!
Hometown: Lake Bluff, IL (Chicagoland Area)
What is the path that brought you to OTC?
My college graduation was impending and I was applying left and right to early career opportunities. I grew up under the sage philosophy 'throw enough spaghetti against the wall, something is bound to stick.' Meaning if one is applying to enough opportunities, something will stick. When I was interviewing with JKJ, I hadn't made the connection that the director of school at Boston University (at the time) was the former Artistic Director of OTC. After my interview, I really gravitated to Olney's mission and values so it was a no brainer to accept the sound apprenticeship.
What are you working on right now?
Right now, my time at Olney is winding down. I'm currently the mix engineer for Ken Ludwig's A Comedy of Tenors in the Mainstage. Beyond that, I'm really excited to be thoroughly deep cleaning and organizing the sound storage with my supervisor. I love organization! I'm also constructing a new desk/work table for the Mainstage sound console and hopefully providing a much more functional space around the console.
What is something you are looking forward to?
I'm looking forward and ahead to my time after this OTC Apprenticeship comes to an end. I'm staying in the DMV area because I've fallen in love with the theatre community here and I want to continue to grow artistically and collaborate with all the wonderful theatre artists in and around the DMV.
What are you doing for your Capstone?
I programmed the sound console and am currently live mixing Ken Ludwig's A Comedy of Tenors. I'm having a blast mixing this show! Even though it's a straight play, it's paced like a musical. It's fast-paced, witty, with lots of back-and-forth dialogue and it keeps me on my toes. It's exhilarating -- especially, towards the end of Act II!
What's special about Olney Theatre Center?
OTC is special to me for three very strong reasons.
One, they treat apprentices earnestly and respectfully.
Two, they understand we are early career professionals with varying degrees of know-how in our chosen fields, but, here at OTC, we are given space and agency to be responsible, integral parts of the company with a safety net of dedicated full-time staff. They emphasize education and learning-by-doing strongly. The fact that I (a young woman in a predominantly cishet male-dominated profession) had the space and agency to program and live mix a production at the professional caliber that is OTC, speaks volumes to their fundamental mission of educating and fostering the next generation of theatremakers.
Three, they consciously acknowledge and self-assess their flaws: they don't gloss over any policies or internal structures that may need rectification or fortification. With their main goal of being a safe environment to take artistic risks and being able to provide that space, OTC is a very conscientious company. They have recently initiated an EDI Committee.
Why Sound Design?
One question I get asked a lot, Why sound design? What's that? I laugh because I get so passionate about answering those questions, I’m basically presenting a dissertation every time I answer. The concise answer: I'm an auditory processor, meaning I interpret and perceive better through hearing information more than just reading or seeing it. To me, sound is something that can affect an audience viscerally and really inform/enhance the emotionality in a production. For me, sound (beit effects, underscoring, or compositions), are like my paint and the production is my canvas. I love to auditorily paint intriguing and complex soundscapes to that help translate and heighten the emotionality or visceral nature of a production. I'm also a huge, huge fan of Foley sound designs. I love constructing Foley props for live sound effects that happen real-time during a production.