2023-24 Season Application Deadlines:
Summer Education Apprenticeships – February 15, 2023
All Season Long Apprenticeships – March 1, 2023
Apprenticing at Portland Stage
The Portland Stage Apprenticeship Program is committed to training future generations of theater professionals. Applicants should be highly motivated individuals who have acquired basic training in the theater arts and are looking to explore their field further through meaningful hands-on experience. Portland Stage apprentices can expect to be challenged by a creative process that relies on both ingenuity and collaboration.
Apprentices at Portland Stage work with leading designers, directors, administrators, and our professional production team throughout the season. They leave with a greater knowledge of the theatrical process and the satisfaction of being part of a dedicated theater company where exceptional quality is the end goal.
All Portland Stage employees, apprentices and guest artists agree to create a work environment that respects diverse ideas, races, genders, sexualities, abilities, culture, and religions, contribute to working in an anti-racist theater, and value Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Access (IDEA).
What You Can Expect:
- The hours are full time (40 hours a week) and the schedule will likely fluctuate from week to week.
- Furnished housing, utilities (electricity, heat, internet) and a $103 weekly stipend will be provided.
- Limited $5,000 cost of living scholarships are available for those with financial need. We encourage everyone to apply for this scholarship.
- There will be physical tasks that require repeated lifting of at least 40 lbs and bending, as well as possibly being on ladders, lifts, or catwalks. Please note that some areas of the theater facility are not handicap-accessible.
- Everyone will be on run crew at least twice. Some apprenticeships have more run crew expectations than others. Some run crew positions might require that you appear onstage in a costume.
- There are additional Swing Run Crew positions for each production that will function essentially as an understudy for the production run crew and may sub in to run shows as needed to provide time off for other run crew members.
- College credit can be arranged.
- The minimum commitment is from September through May; Education Apprentices may be invited to stay as late as early August.
All questions regarding the Apprenticeship Program can be sent to our Apprentice Coordinators via email at ApprenticeSearch.
Our Apprentice Coordinators are:
Jennifer London Company Manager/Apprentice Coordinator
Julianne Shea Education Administrator/Apprentice Coordinator
Please Note: Each year the specific apprenticeships offered fluctuate depending on the needs of the season and the skills/interests of the year’s applicants.
Carpentry/Painting/Technical Direction | Props | Costumes/Wardrobe | Electrics/Sound
Production Apprentices work alongside professional production staff in their assigned departments, assisting with all aspects of construction, maintenance, and run crew. In general, we have one apprentice in each of the departments, but there may be two. Specific duties will vary according to the particular needs of each production. Production Apprentices may also assist designers on a production, depending on interest, ability, and availability. All apprentices spend time in other departments to expand their knowledge in all areas of technical theater. Production apprentices will be on run crew for many of shows during the season.
Company Management | Development | Marketing
The Arts Administration Apprenticeship can be adjusted slightly depending on the skills and interests of the applicant. Historically, this apprenticeship is primarily in Company Management and works with the Company Manager on company meals, housing, contracts, and other administration. needs. The apprentice will also float to other departments for special projects, including working with/on the Maine Theater Collective. Past apprentices have worked with Development, Marketing, Education, and others. All apprentices will be on two, if not more, run crew assignments and will spend time in other departments to expand their knowledge in all areas of theater.
Each Directing/Dramaturgy Apprentice typically assists directors during rehearsals of two Mainstage productions and works with the artistic staff on daily administrative activities in the Literary and Education Departments. There are usually three Directing/Dramaturgy Apprentices each season. Apprentices assist with Portland Stage’s annual play festivals, From Away and Little Festival of the Unexpected. Dramaturgical duties include researching, writing, editing, and laying-out resource guides (PlayNotes), reading and evaluating scripts, and assisting with post-play discussions. All apprentices will be on two, if not more, run crew assignments and will spend time in other departments to expand their knowledge in all areas of theater.
Education Apprentices assist the artistic and education staff with planning and running Portland Stage’s Education Programs for students aged 4-18. In general, there are two Education Apprentices each season. Education Apprentices will have the opportunity to assist and co-teach alongside experienced professional theater artists. Responsibilities include: leading warm-ups; assisting & co-teaching Camps/Classes/Touring Programs; collaborating with teaching artists on lesson planning; contributing to performances & readings (may include acting, assistant directing, stage managing, design, etc.); and serving as Ensemble Coordinators for the winter show. Apprentices will also take part in the ongoing administration of education & outreach programs. Administrative duties include: organizing & prepping materials, coordinating & communicating with education artists & schools, and researching & writing educational resource guides. All Apprentices will be on two, if not more, run crew assignments and will spend time in other departments to expand their knowledge in all areas of theater.
Summer Education Apprentices assist the artistic and education staff with planning and running Portland Stage’s theater camps for students ages 4-18. In general, there are three Education Apprentices each summer. Responsibilities include assisting and co-teaching with professional teaching artists, organizing and producing camp materials, leading warm-ups, and planning and executing camp ‘Apprentice Hours’ of lead teaching (1-2 instructional hours daily). The summer may also include opportunities to assist the Summer Library PLAY Tour. This Apprenticeship generally runs from June through mid-August; Education Apprentices from the preceding season are often asked to apply to stay for the summer.
Each Stage Management Apprentice works directly with Equity Stage Managers as an integral part of the stage management team. In general, we have two Stage Management Apprentices each season. Typically, each Stage Management Apprentice is specifically assigned to one Equity Stage Manager for the season and alternates between productions. Apprentices assist with all aspects of rehearsal and coordinate activities on deck from the tech process through the run of the shows. When not in rehearsal, time will be spent in other departments outside of Stage Management. Stage Management Apprentices may apply to the Equity Membership Candidacy program during their time at Portland Stage.
2023-2024 Apprenticeship Application Deadlines
February 15, 2023 – Summer Education Apprenticeships
March 1, 2023 – All Season Long Apprenticeships
You will receive confirmation of your application once your materials have been received.
To apply, you will need to submit a completed application form (download it below), cover letter, resumé, three reference phone numbers, two letters of recommendation, and any additional supporting materials required of your preferred apprenticeships.
Make sure you download the detailed application instructions below and read it in its entirety to learn about the application’s submission requirements and any additional supporting materials needed. Make sure you fill out your application form completely.
All questions regarding the Apprenticeship Program can be sent to our Apprentice Coordinators via email at ApprenticeSearch.
Cost of Living Scholarship
If you would like to apply for a cost of living scholarship please download & complete the application.
NOTE: This is not currently available for the Summer Education Apprenticeship.
Email any questions to Scholarship.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Apprentices are housed in furnished, 3-bedroom apartments 4 blocks from the theater and across the street from Deering Oaks Park, a large municipal green space. Each apprentice has their own private bedroom and shares a kitchen, bathroom, and living space. The apartment comes with heat, electricity, water, and wifi. Apartments range from first floor to third floor apartments; there are no elevators in the apartment building. There is free on-street parking available around the apartment building for those that wish to bring vehicles, but pay attention to winter/snow parking bans announced by the city. We expect Apprentices to be able to walk to work from these apartments; parking spots are not provided at Portland Stage for everyday apprentice use.
This is a new initiative started in the 2022-2023 season. The application is separate from the Apprenticeship application, and can be found here. Email Scholarship with any questions. Note: This is not currently available for the Summer Education Apprenticeship.
There are certain tasks that get assigned to all apprentices throughout the season. Apprentices can expect to be assigned to go on postering routes, assist the costume shop, strike the set of a show, work an electrics changeover and focus, set-up a company meal or party (and eat, too!), be on book for tech or preview performances, usher for an occasional performance, and other various tasks as assigned. All apprentices should be prepared to bend, lift, carry, move, etc.; apprentices should be physically able to lift 40 lbs (the weight of a stage weight) on their own. The vast majority of your time will be spent in your department; however, as in many apprenticeships, your time will be scheduled in an attempt to give each apprentice a well-rounded theatrical education.
Yes, we offer a Summer Education Apprenticeship that runs from June through mid-August. Applications for the Summer Education Apprenticeship are due February 15. We typically do not have summer apprenticeships in other areas.
The program should be regarded as a full-time and primary commitment of 40 hours per week. The schedule, currently posted on a weekly basis, varies based on the needs of the show and the needs of the theater. Additional employment to supplement income would need to be flexible to accommodate the fluctuating nature of the schedule. In the past, some apprentices have found that pet sitting, babysitting, snow shoveling, virtual teaching, and other remote work works with their schedules.
The schedule will have ebbs and flows from week to week. We are committed to a 40 hour per week maximum work load across all positions. When on a production run crew, you will primarily be scheduled to work nights and weekends. We have an additional Swing Run Crew position that will function essentially as an understudy for the production crew and may sub in to run shows as needed to provide time off for other run crew members. As of the fall of 2020, we have eliminated “10 out of 12” tech days to promote healthier and more equitable schedules. For non-run crew or tech schedules, you will primarily be working weekdays. Apprentices are encouraged to discuss any schedule conflicts with their supervisor and with the Apprentice Coordinators in advance so we can make schedules work around conflicts whenever possible.
We select ten to twelve (10-12) apprentices per season. This cohort will learn about theater as a whole each with a focus in various areas of theater. The summer generally has two or three (2-3) education apprentices.
Typically between 110 and 130 per season.
Portland Stage primarily selects individuals that are currently residents of the United States. However, we will consider applicants from outside the United States if they already. have secured and can demonstrate permission to work in the US for the period of the apprenticeship. Portland Stage is not able to help successful applicants secure a work permit/visa.
The decisions are made in late April or May. Summer Education Apprenticeships will likely be decided by early March.
Portland Stage cares about the health and safety of our apprentices, staff, guest artists, patrons and volunteers. We continue to adapt to the guidelines set forth by the CDC and the Governor of the State of Maine. Flexibility continues to be key.
Portland Stage upgraded the HVAC system in the building to include bi-polar ionization technology which releases charged atoms that attach to and deactivate harmful substances like bacteria, mold, allergens, and viruses by pulling the hydrogen atom away, causing the harmful substances to die. Testing of this system for effectiveness against the COVID-19 virus by two different independent laboratories, Analytical Lab Group and Innovative Bioanalysis, revealed that the level of the virus is cut by 90% within 60 minutes. The safety plan is regularly reviewed to ensure everyone is informed of the plan as well as expectation for their actions and those of others. Everyone is encouraged to speak up and help remind others of the safety plan.
If you are accepted into the apprenticeship program, you will be guaranteed housing for the duration of the normal apprenticeship, whether we are able to produce theater or not. As long as we continue to provide you with educational experiences and tasks that can be completed within that experience, you will receive your stipend.
All employees and apprentices must be up to date on their vaccines against COVID-19 and provide a copy of their vaccination card as a condition of accepting a position. However, exceptions are granted to individuals who can demonstrate a legally protected exception. We are continuing to watch for updates from the CDC and the State of Maine.
You can find out more about Portland Stage’s current masking policy for patrons here.
Scroll down this page to see which theater artists apprentices of seasons’ past have gotten to work with!
Past Guest Artists
Portland Stage apprentices have the opportunity to work with talented guest artists from many different fields of theater. Some of the past guest artists include:
- Jade King Carroll (one of American Theatre’s 6 Theatre Workers You Should Know, 2016)
- Kevin R. Free (Actor, Director, and Voice of Kevin from Desert Bluffs on Welcome to Night Vale)
- Liz Diamond (Chair of the Directing Department & Resident Director at Yale Repertory Theatre)
- Christopher Grabowski (Director of Theater, Vassar College)
- Markus Potter (Artistic Director of New York Rep)
- Paul Meshejian (Founding Artistic Director, PlayPenn)
- Tony Giordano (nationally known director: Yale Rep, Trinity Rep, numerous NYC productions)
- Gabriel Barre (Tony Award Nominee; Manhattan Theatre Club & other Off-Broadway credits)
- Bartlett Sher (Tony Award Winner; former Artistic Director, Intiman Theater)
- Anne Bogart (Founder, SITI Company)
- Bryon Winn (Director of Theater, University of Iowa)
- Christopher Akerlind (Tony Award Winner – Light in the Piazza)
- Tyler Micoleau (Obie and Lucille Lortel Award winner)
- Ellen McCartney (Cal Arts Faculty)
- Marcus Dilliard (The Guthrie Theater, Theater de la Jeune Lune)
- Jennifer Tipton (Yale School of Drama)
- Richard Topol (Film, TV, and Broadway actor in Indecent, The Merchant of Venice with Al Pacino)
- Michelle Hurst (TV Actor, Orange is the New Black)
- James Cusati-Moyer (Tony-nominated actor for Slave Play by Jeremy O. Harris)
- Winston Duke (Black Panther, Us)
- Kristin Linklater (author of Freeing the Natural Voice and Chair of Columbia University’s Graduate Theater Department)
- Ann Harada (many Broadway credits; originated role of Christmas Eve in Avenue Q)
- Avner Eisenberg (Avner the Eccentric, International Solo Performer)
- Callie Kimball (Sofonisba, Perseverance)
- John Cariani (Almost, Maine; Last Gas; LOVE/SICK)
- Monica Wood (Papermaker, The Half-Light)
- Eleanor Burgess (The Niceties)
- Brenda Withers (String Around My Finger, Matt & Ben)
- Willy Holtzman (Two-time Pulitzer Prize Nominee: Searching for Mr. Moon, Sabina, Inside Out, The Morini Strad)
- Deborah Zoe Laufer (Out of Sterno)
- Quiara Alegria Hudes (Yemaya’s Belly)
- Nilo Cruz (Bicycle Country, Sotto Voce)
- Kate Moira Ryan and Kim D. Sherman (Leaving Queens)
- Kevin Coleman (Tony-nominated teaching artist and Director of Education at Shakespeare & Company)