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 Marketing and Development Apprentice, Meredith Beisel!
What is the path that brought you to OTC?
I recently graduated from Marymount Manhattan College with a BA in theatre performance and minors in arts management and communications. I added the arts management minor about two years ago when I realized that although I love performing, my passion also lies on the other side of the performing arts in fundraising specifically. I grew up in Dayton, MD, only fifteen minutes from Olney so I was familiar with OTC for years. Therefore, when the time came to start applying for apprenticeships, Olney was the first one to come to mind.
What are you working on right now?
Well my predecessor, Taylor, did a fantastic job with keeping up with this blog. So, I am following in her footsteps and helping the marketing department make sure we have consistent blog posts. I am also starting to update certain theatre guides and websites with information on our 2019-2020 season. Last week was my first week so I am still getting into the swing of things. Tomorrow, I am helping set up and take photographs for the meet and greet/ design presentations for National Players Tour 71.
What is something that you are looking forward to?
I am looking forward to the opening night of Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical which is coming up very soon. In terms of the apprenticeship program, I am excited for the rest of my apprentice class to start on campus in late August. Currently, I am working part time as I am the Producer of Wildwood Summer Theatre which has rehearsals in Montgomery County. Wildwood is a youth run summer theatre company (meaning everyone from staff to cast members are from the ages of 14-25), and it has been around for 54 years. This year, Wildwood has two shows in our season, "Side Show" and "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee" which both open in July. I am working alongside Gabriela Schulman who is also a 2019-2020 Olney Theatre Apprentice!
What are you doing or thinking about for your capstone?
Although I have experience with video editing in my past communications classes, I don't really have all that much knowledge of Photoshop, so I would love to explore more projects in graphic design with JJ. If not graphic design, planning opening night events or helping to coordinate the gala would also be something I am very interested in. Honestly, I am up for learning and developing many skills, so my answer in six months to this question might change a lot.
What's special about OTC?
The open door work environment is what I love about this place. I've only been here for a week, but just being able to listen to people's conversations on what they are doing or being able to voice a question to the room has taught me more than I could have asked for. I also love the campus environment here, it has a home feeling to it so it doesn't feel like you are coming to work in an office environment with cubicles and an ever present feeling of stress. It is very open and collaborative.
Why Marketing and Development?
I love establishing and fostering relationships with donors and trying to find creative ways to keep people engaged in the art we are doing and the company itself. Marketing and Development go hand in hand, so this apprenticeship is incredibly worthwhile, because I will see how these departments cross over and relate to one another. When I leave OTC, I hope to find out whether Marketing is the direction I want to go in or whether Development is the path I want to take. It is also likely it might be both, but OTC allows me to discover which pathway I might want to try. Marketing, especially, but Development as well tap into the creative aspects of theatre. You have to be creative in the ways you tell the story to the audience so that they want to learn more. You are constantly trying to pitch a story in different lights and ways and I love that. These areas of theater help keep my artistic side flowing.