I can’t believe I have made it to my last day as the Marketing and Development Apprentice. A year ago, I was fresh out of college, and ready to take my first steps out into the adult world. Looking back at the person I was then, I feel like I have grown immensely, both professionally and personally. I credit my growth to this apprenticeship at Olney Theatre Center.
In her final blog post, my predecessor, Taylor Lamb, wrote that Olney’s apprenticeship isn’t like any other offered in the area. She was absolutely correct. It’s not like any other apprenticeship. It’s immersive, challenging, and eye-opening. I can’t speak for other apprentices, but as part of both the marketing and development departments, I had the opportunity to work alongside many different people, who consistently took time out of their schedules to teach me something new. They allowed me to see what working in a theatre company is like, inside and out. At Olney, what you get out of this apprenticeship is what you put in. Sometimes, you just have to dive in headfirst. Ask questions, challenge yourself, and develop the curiosity for all aspects of theatre. Because not only do I feel like I have gained knowledge about marketing and development, I feel like I have a better grasp of how a non-profit organization works, especially through a crisis such as COVID-19.
In my apprenticeship, I have accomplished tasks and projects that I am proud of and made memories that will stick with me. In the fall, I successfully made it through the run of Cabaret as the light board operator, a role that I had never done before but has become something that I would jump at the opportunity to do again. In December, both of my departments had staff members out of state for the opening night of A Christmas Carol, and therefore I became the key staff member of the night, running the ticket table and organizing the set-up of our post-performance reception. This spring, for my final capstone of the year, I compiled and organized sample budgets for the development department. Of course, there are other memorable moments, but then this blog post would set the record as the longest one yet.
This apprenticeship would not have been the same without the staff in the marketing and development departments. I want to thank Josh, Maureen, Wes, Carlie, Colleen, Michael, Weldon, Kristina, JJ, Sarah, Emily, and Julie. I have learned valuable skills from each one of you, and am glad I got to work with you.
Above all, this apprenticeship was the best because of my fellow apprentices. I will always treasure our late night chats at the Crawford Kitchen table, sharing ghost stories or just laughing about life. I am going to miss my hour-long roommate chats with Caitlin O’Brien, sharing what happened in our day as if we were a married couple. To my office apprentices, thank you for bringing joy to my workdays and going on impromptu adventures with me, and yes, I mostly mean our voyages to McDonalds. This year, we have tackled and accomplished so much. From spectacular mainstage shows to working in an unprecedented time in theater during COVID-19, we have made it through together. I can’t wait to see what we all accomplish.
I might be ending my apprenticeship at Olney, but I will always feel at home on campus. As cheesy as it may sound, this is definitely not a goodbye, but a see you soon. Thanks for the memories, Olney.