This season, CTC was honored with three grants in support of our Youth Apprentice Program (YAP). Since 1994, YAP has functioned as an introduction to theatre professions for high schoolers and a critical career stepping-stone for college students, employing approximately 20 students a summer in variety of support roles at CTC. Participants gain hands-on experience in technical theatre, artistic management, and artistic process. With the average household income for a family of four in the southern Hilltowns being $24,000 (Hilltowns CDC), YAP also services a critical economic need for the apprentices living in our community. The grants came from three area foundations: Art Angels, the Debra Jo Rupp Foundation, and Shurtleff Children’s Services. Thank you so much for making this important program possible!
According to actor and CTC favorite Joel Ripka (Nibroc Trilogy, The Swan), “working with other theatre companies, I’ve found college age interns aren’t paid and high school kids aren’t even present. The kids at CTC are more empowered, more in control, and more responsible from doing a grown up job in a professional theatre company.” And “grown up jobs” at Chester have lead to professional theatre careers for many of our apprentices. 3-time YAP participant Sarah Dion is currently pursuing an MFA in Stage Management at UCSD. “I’ve learned countless things about theatre craft and myself at CTC,” says Sarah, “but, most importantly, I learned what professional theatre really is.”
YAP continues to grow. This is thanks not only to our recently received grants, but also the many members of the CTC community who supported YAP as part of our 2013 Friends renewal campaign. Because of the combined donor and foundation support, CTC was able to add a professional development seminar for our apprentices, where CTC Artists-in-Residence Daniel Kramer (Director), Caskey Hunsader (Stage Manager), and Tom Shread (Sound Designer) discussed their background, training, and experiences as theatre professionals. The seminar included a question-and-answer session and was concluded with a dinner generously donated by Esselon Cafe of Hadley.
You can find out more about our Youth Apprentice Program, including ways of supporting it, at the Youth Apprentice Program page.