Apprenticeship FAQs

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 $100 weekly stipend will be provided.
  • Limited scholarships available for those with financial need.
  • 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 is an additional Swing Run Crew position 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 late August through May; Production Apprentices could start as early as mid-July and Education Apprentices may be invited to stay as late as early August.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Is housing provided?
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.

Q: How can I apply for the financial aid scholarship?
A: 
This is a new initiative that we are planning on starting in the 2022 season. The application will be a separate form. This form will be available in early February.

Q: What can I expect to do beyond my internship area?
A: 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.

Q: Do you offer any summer internships?
A:
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.

Q: Can I have a part-time job during my internship?
A: 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 to work with their schedules.

Q: What do you mean by fluctuating schedule?
A: 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’s” 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 them whenever possible.

Q: How many apprentices do you select?
A: 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.

Q: How large is your pool of applicants?
A:
 Typically between 110 and 130 per season.

Q: Do you accept International applicants?
A: 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.

Q: When are final selections made?
A: The decisions are made in late April or May. Summer Education Apprenticeships will likely be decided by early March.

Q: What about COVID?
A:
Like many theaters, we are trying to stay open and to keep producing content safely. We may not know our exact plans for next season but we do know that we’re going to do our best to keep going and to adapt to the guidelines set forth by CDC and the Governor. That may mean in-person shows with a streaming option, or zoom readings and discussions, or other options we haven’t tried as of yet. Flexibility will be key.

Portland Stage upgraded the HVAC system in the building to include bi-polar ionization technology to keep the air clean and breakdown particles; but everyone is encouraged to work from home when possible.  At the start of the season, start of rehearsal, and before tech, there is a meeting to review the safety plan to ensure everyone is informed of the plan as well as expectations 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 (late August through late May), 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. We may start the season a little later or end a little earlier, but we will keep apprentices and staff informed as decisions are being made.

All employees and apprentices must be fully vaccinated 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. A lot of meetings are still happening virtually and distancing is still encouraged along with proper hand hygiene. We are continuing to watch for updates from CDC and the State of Maine.  We are planning on a relatively normal schedule for the 2022-2023 season.