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 Dramaturgy apprentice, Katie Ciszek!
Katie Ciszek (On the left)
Hometown: Richmond, VA
The path that brought you to Olney Theatre Center:
I knew about OTC because several of my friends had seen shows or worked with the company in the past. They only had good things to say. I was looking for an apprenticeship to help bridge the gap from university to professional life, and the program at OTC is so fantastic. We are given a lot of responsibility and we’re treated as any other staff member, but our supervisors are also diligent about providing guidance and feedback.
What are you working on right now?
I have my head in a few different projects. Most immediately, I am building a dramaturgy website for Once, our next musical after Elf the Musical. I am also in communication with Carlyn Aquiline, our dramaturg for Oil, to get started on some materials for the actors. I’m finishing up a couple things for Elf the Musical and doing a bit of preparatory work for Mary Stuart. The great thing about my job is that I can research Irish buskers, 16th century queens, and global holiday traditions in a single day.
What is something you are looking forward to?
I really can’t wait for Oil. I love working on new plays and the script is so stunning and raw. After Labour of Love, I am even more excited for another US premiere.
What are you planning to do for your Capstone?
I sort of have two capstones in the works. Because our production of Mary Stuart will be an original adaptation of the German text, I have the opportunity to serve as a literary dramaturg (as well as a production dramaturg). In addition to providing research, I’ll be working more closely with Jason Loewith to track the script’s evolution and assist him with the development process. My supervisor, Jason King Jones, has been amazing about helping me make the most of my time at OTC. I told him I am also interested in directing, and he has helped me find an opportunity to assist one of the directors in the spring.
What's special about Olney Theatre Center?
One thing I noticed almost immediately is that Olney is constantly striving to improve as an organization-- it may sound corny, but I have seen this in action at Olney in a way I haven’t seen at many of the organizations and teams I have been a part of. OTC is constantly self-evaluating and striving for greater artistic excellence; but more importantly, the company is committed to continual learning and efforts to become a more inclusive and diverse organization.
What is one memory you’ve made as an apprentice?
About a week ago, several of the apprentices and National Players gathered on the porch to watch Rocky Horror Picture Show and carve pumpkins. It’s little things like that that make Olney feel like a home.