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 (or whatever level of experience they bring to the table) and the profession. For one year, 16 apprentices live and work on OTC’s campus in every facet of the organization. Kathryn Burke is one of our two electrics apprentices for the 2019-2020 season.
What is the path that brought you to OTC? I happened to stumble across OTC while at a job fair at UPTA (Unified Professional Theatre Auditions) in Memphis last January. Right off the bat, it seemed like a really interesting apprentice program to be a part of. I had been curious about the DC theatre scene for a while at that point, so I signed up for an interview time slot and met with Jenna Dencan, our Associate Artistic Director/Casting Director. From there, I had two interviews with the former master electrician, our current master electrician, and JKJ. They hired me in March and now I'm here!
What are you working on right now? I just finished working as a crew member for Singin' in the Rain and now I'm working with the electrics team on prepping for Miss You Like Hell.
What is something you are looking forward to? One specific thing I'm really looking forward to is my Capstone and having a project that I can call my own. I also always look forward to the apprentice outings we have.
What are you doing (or thinking about) for your Capstone? At the moment, I'm very interested in getting the opportunity to program a Lab show before the space closes for renovations. There's also the possibility that I might do that, and then help assist Sam (our master electrician) with prep for Pippin as the Assistant Master Electrician.
What's special about Olney Theatre Center? I really love the sense of community and family that our company has. That especially goes for the group of apprentices this year. I feel very fortunate to have such a wonderful group of women that I'm sharing a professional and residential space with!
Why the electrics apprenticeship? Electrics has always been a field in technical theatre that stuck out to me. When I was on tech crew in high school, we did a little bit of everything, but I always looked forward to our lighting days the most and because of that, I chose to pursue a specialty in it while I was in college. I love how technical the field is, how technology is always changing and adapting, how hands on my job is, and there's always something new to learn. I could never imagine myself being in another field.