Entering college, university, graduate program or the professional workplace? No matter where you are, attaining the skills necessary to make it in theatre is no easy task. Taking advantage of every opportunity to develop yourself as a performer, director, designer, technician or administrator – as a theatre professional others will want to work with – in a creative environment is absolutely essential in the performing arts. An apprenticeship at Flat Rock Playhouse is exactly what you need to take your education in theatre and expand it into a career in theatre.
The Vagabond Players were founded in 1936 and from the inception of the Company, training theatre artists has been a vital part of the mission. Over the years more than 1,000 students have benefited form the challenging and rewarding experience of being an Apprentice on The Rock. Many continue to be a part of the Company and of the full time staff, 50% started their career with the Playhouse as Apprentices. The Company of Vagabond Players believes in growing our own and maintaining lasting relationships.
The First-Year Apprentice
New members to the Company audition/interview for a place in the program. Once accepted they join a Company of up to sixteen fellow Apprentices. First-Year Apprentices receive a weekly stipend of $50 along with room & board for the session.
Perform in two mainstage equity productions.
Perform at The Carl Sandburg National Historic Site located adjacent to the Playhouse.
Perform at Midnight Studio, the weekly in-house cabaret.
Perform in “Dark Night Revue,” our annual summer gala.
Develop a showcase performance for the mainstage, attended by New York Casting Director(s).
Participate in master classes offered by the Professional Company.
Earn points toward their Actors’ Equity Association membership (if desired.)
Receive college credit (if pre-approved through their school.)
Learn from scenic, lighting, costume, properties, and stage management departments.
The Second-Year Apprentice
Each year up to four apprentices are invited back for a second season. Second-year Apprentices enjoy all the performing and learning opportunities available in the first year but also assume a leadership role in the Apprentice Company. They work closely with the Apprentice Director in shaping the summer experience. Second-year Apprentices receive a weekly stipend of $150 and are provided with room and board.
Certain promising Second Year Apprentices are offered the opportunity to join the professional company. In the last few years, several recent second year students have been offered roles with the professional company after completing their apprenticeship. Currently we have several former apprentices staring in Broadway productions. These Company members perform main-stage roles as well as contribute to artistic outreach programs of Flat Rock Playhouse. Company members are paid a salary and provided room and board.
“Our daughter Katie Zanca, who will graduate from Elon University’s musical theater program in the spring of 2014, was an apprentice at the Flat Rock Playhouse for two summers. It was the experience of a lifetime for Katie. Someone told her “it will be the hardest job that you will ever love,” and they were right. As a member of the apprentice company, she made lifelong friends, she had the thrill of receiving standing ovations as a member of a “Tony-worthy” company of players, she honed her skills as a performer, and she learned that with hard work and long days she could accomplish so much more than she ever thought she could. Katie’s experience at Flat Rock affirmed her dream of working as a musical theater actor. As a parent, I’m so grateful she had the experience of Flat Rock, because I think it gives her a huge advantage and leg up as she pursues her dreams. If you’re an MT (or the parent of one), one of the most providential things that could ever happen for your career would be an apprenticeship at The Flat Rock Playhouse.”~Bruce J Zanca (Parents of Katie Zanca, Apprentice Class of ’11
“We want to express our deepest appreciation for allowing our daughter to be a part of your summer apprentice program. We were especially impressed with the learning environment that she encountered through the relationships that she developed with the Equity actors and production staff.” ~Kent and Alice Patton (Parents of Allie Patton, Apprentice Class of ’08)
“I wanted to personally thank each and every one of you for the opportunity afforded my son this summer. I looked forward to James’ calls updating me on the happenings at the Rock. At times he sounded so exhausted but he was so happy and contented. He loved every minute of it. What more could I have asked? For sure, one of the best investments I have ever made in his life.” ~Jane Wells (Mother of James Wells, Apprentice Class of ’09 and ’10)
“The two summers I spent at Flat Rock were the best investment I have ever made in myself. I learned so much about so many different things – I came to a better understanding about all the different aspects of theatre, I learned how to conduct myself as a real professional actress, I made some serious self-discoveries about my own abilities as a leader and a member of a group – all while making lifelong friendships and having so much fun. The connections I made with industry professionals have been invaluable for opening other doors for me down the road. I owe so much to Flat Rock Playhouse and the many people I have met while I worked there. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without that place!!” ~Katie Zanka (Apprentice Class of ’11)
“My time at the Rock completely opened up my eyes to the professional world of theatre. I had been preparing myself in college, for the artistic and business side of things for three years, but being submerged with professionals day in and day out, I had never felt more ready to take on the world.
This apprenticeship is incredibly challenging, but worth every ounce of sweat, blood, and tears you may put into it. The rewards outweigh the hardships three to one. I would return in an instant for too many reasons to count.” ~Nate Huntly (Apprentice Class of ’11)
“I feel so honored to be apart of this Apprentice class. I’m going to really miss bonding time at the Hunter House and Midnight Studio hysteria. Thank you for allowing me to spend my summer at this magical place. I will leave with new Knowledge and new friends.” ~Ginna Claire Mason (Apprentice Class of ’11)
“I know that this summer really has propelled me to do so well this year. I just wanted to take the time to thank you guys for giving me the opportunity you did this summer, it truly was a life/career changing experience and has taught me, upon many other things to be a much more focused actor and performer. My teachers all this semester have noticed how much I have grown and I know it’s all because of the incredible training I received at Flat Rock this summer!” ~Cornelius Davis (Apprentice Class of ’11)
“This has been the most incredibly rewarding summer of my life. I am so proud of the work I have done, both with crews and on stage. I feel as though I am leaving here a more mature, independent, and confident person. I feel more prepared for the year ahead and for any theatre or life experience that comes my way. Wherever I go and whatever I do, I will carry with me what I have learned here. ~Adam Kaplan (Apprentice ’09 and ’11)
“…All of this is to say that I couldn’t have done any of this if it wasn’t for the support that I got from everyone at Flat Rock. It was the toughest and most rewarding summer of my life. It seriously sparked a change in me and I know that my life as an artist will be better because of it.” ~Kelli Winn (Apprentice ’09)