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. Meet Lelia Vetter, one of our two electrics apprentices!
What is the path that brought you to OTC?
I graduated from McDaniel College in May 2019 and started working here just a week later.
I was looking for jobs earlier this year, and still wasn't sure what path I wanted to take. I loved technical theater, but I was majoring in Psychology and English with only a minor in Theatre Arts. I still felt like I had a lot to learn if I wanted to continue with electrics, so I researched different apprenticeship programs. I’m from Maryland, so when I applied to several different places, I was happy when a local theater company offered me the job! Olney seemed like a great place to work, and several people who were familiar with the theater and the apprenticeship program recommended this place to me.
What are you working on right now?
I am currently the light board operator for Singin' in the Rain, and I am also in charge of channel checks for that show, which means I check to make sure every light works before each show, and fix any problems that might arise. When I am not doing that, we're currently working on organization and maintenance. Now that there are shows up in all of our spaces, we can get things done that we don't have time for during our show prep time.
What is something you are looking forward to?
Learning even more and continuing to develop the skills I've learned so far at Olney!
What are you doing (or thinking about) for your Capstone?
I'm not completely sure yet what I'm going to be doing. I have my six month review coming up this week, and that's something we're going to talk about in that meeting. I am possibly interested in programming a show, or being the Master Electrician for a show in the lab.
What's special about Olney Theatre Center?
Everyone who works here wants to be here and work to make everything that happens at Olney the best that it can be. So many people want to help the apprentices grow and thrive, and even through stressful times there's always someone who has our backs. I've learned so much already, and I love that everyone is willing and wants to help educate the apprentices.
I've already made so many close friends through this apprentice program, and we find so many ways to spend time together. Some of us have actually started an apprentice Dungeons and Dragons campaign (I play a Dragonborn Rogue), and we've had a lot of fun and grown closer doing that. One of the reasons we're able to do that is we all live on campus, so we can find time outside of show calls and work each week to gather and be involved in a campaign.
Why the electrics apprenticeship?
I completely fell in love with theatrical lighting a couple of years ago; I had only been on light crew once, but I went on a trip through my college where I got to see so many live theater productions, and having been on light crew I had so much more appreciation for what went into the lighting. I nerded out with fellow lighting techs on that trip, and came back and started doing lights on every show after that. Lighting can completely transform a space, and though some may not notice, it can have so much meaning and I love playing a part in making that happen.