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 our dramaturgy apprentice, Sarah Kiker, who is also a key writer for our blog.
What is the path that brought you to OTC?
I graduated from Pepperdine University in May 2018 with a strong desire to work as a dramaturg but had limited experience. My university didn’t offer degree paths in dramaturgy and I was actually a creative writing major. I needed an opportunity that would grant me more experience so I could seriously pursue a career in the field. I found OTC through Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of America (LMDA) while looking for apprenticeships all over the country. I grew up in Texas and went to school in California, but I was hoping to move to the east coast because of the higher concentration of opportunities. OTC was a fantastic fit, so I didn’t need to think twice when they offered me the position.
What are you working on right now?
My main project right now is an actor’s guide for Singin’ in the Rain, which is essentially a packet full of research useful to the actors during the rehearsal process. For this packet, that means I’m reading a lot about the development of synchronized sound technology in film and Hollywood from the 1920s to the 1950s. I’m also working on a study guide for The Royale student matinees with the Education Apprentice, Hannah Ensign.
What is something you are looking forward to?
Gosh, so many things. I just started at the end of August and I’m so excited to work on the rest of the 19/20 season. In general, I’m looking forward to spending more time in the rehearsal room and learning as much as I can about every aspect of theatre.
What are you doing (or thinking about) for your Capstone?
Dramaturgy capstones can take a lot of different forms based on the apprentice’s interest. For example, last years’ apprentice assistant directed for her capstone. I’m not exactly sure what form mine will take, but I’d love to find a way to dig into new work dramaturgy while I’m here.
What's special about Olney Theatre Center?
I really think it's the people who work here. Everyone is dedicated to putting on meaningful and valuable work. In addition to that, since there are so many apprentices around, people are eager to learn or share what they know. It’s a great environment to start a professional career.
Why the dramaturgy apprenticeship?
Dramaturgy is the combination of all the things I love: theatre, research, history, and writing. I have always loved theatre, but for most of my life I wasn’t sure where I fit in the process. Luckily, I met a professional dramaturg while I was studying abroad in London. While he described his job to me I thought, Oh, that’s exactly what I want to do. There have been a few detours along the way, (i.e. teaching fifth-grade English in Arizona for a year) but working as a dramaturg has been my goal for many years.