Students explore new passions with ‘Lyric’ internship program

Utah State University’s Old Lyric Repertory Company Apprentice Program repeats a long standing tradition of training up-and-coming actors, technicians and designers. Every summer, high school juniors and seniors have the opportunity to become OLRC apprentice members, where they work and learn from regional theater professionals. The Old Lyric Repertory Company is an advanced theater program based in the Department of Theatre and the Caine College of the Arts at Utah State University. The OLRC Apprentice Program’s primary sponsor is the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. The program is also supported by USU. According to Richie Call, apprentice program coordinator, the apprentice program is designed to expose students to all facets of theater, including acting, stage management, scene design, costumes, lighting, sound, directing, props and crew work. “Often, students will come into our program with a primary interest then realize their passion lies in something they never knew existed,” Call said. Students who participate in the Apprentice Program first submit applications. Literature is distributed to high schools throughout Utah and many theater programs in surrounding states. Many learn about the program from teachers who are USU alumni and about Utah State Theatre during Utah Theatre Association conferences. According to OLRC Artistic Director Dennis Hassan, some 30 students submitted applications to the OLRC Apprentice Program this spring. They are invited to audition and interview for the program. Those interested in an acting emphasis must audition, presenting two monologues or scenes and one song. The students who select design or technical areas are interviewed. From this process, up to 12 of the top students are selected for the Apprentice Program. The apprentices arrive in Logan in early June to begin their apprenticeships. And, under Call’s leadership, the students are engaged in a rigorous daily schedule. “They have daily acting, movement and voice classes,” he said. “Twice a week, a member of the OLRC company will teach a master class on one of the facets of theater. The apprentices rotate working in the various shops for props, costume and scenery. They are assigned some publicity responsibilities and they attend OLRC rehearsals and usher at the shows and attend rehearsals.” Additionally, the apprentices also stage their own production, handling every aspect of the process, Call said. This year’s apprentice show is an original work titled “Into the Daylight.” “The show comes from them,” Call said. “It’s not biographical, but it’s about a group of young adults going through the same experiences and dealing with the same issues that they are.” The students create the show together in a format Call referred to as a “performance ensemble experience.” Through their experience with the OLRC, apprentice members receive stipends and earn college credit. Other activities include BBQs and a trip to the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City, Utah. The apprentice class of 2010 includes 12 students from Utah and Idaho. Members include Ruthie Cobb, Orem, Utah, a recent graduate of Mountain View High School who plans to attend USU fall 2010; Rachel Dugan, West Valley City, Utah, a recent graduate of Hunter Hunter High School who is headed to Casper College in Wyoming; Katie Francis, Logan, Utah, entering her junior year at Logan High School; Morgan Golightly, Taylorsville, Utah, a recent graduate of Taylorsville High who plans to attend USU fall 2010; MarKaye Hassan, Logan, Utah, entering her junior year at Logan High School; TJ Hewitt, Ogden, Utah, a recent graduate of Ben Lomond High School who enters USU fall 2010; Chelsea Millward, Salt Lake City, Utah, a graduate of Skyline High School who enters USU fall 2010; Lauren Sidwell, Logan, Utah, who enters her senior year at Logan High School; Jackson Simmons, Oakley, Idaho, a graduate of Burley High School who enters USU fall 2010; Ashley Underwood, Providence, Utah, a graduate of Mountain Crest High School who enters USU fall 2010; Chris Warren, Salt Lake City, a graduate of Highland High School who enters USU fall 2010; and Josh Wright, Salt Lake City, beginning his senior year at Skyline High School. The apprentice production “Into the Daylight” opens July 19, with curtain times of 2 p.m., 7:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. There is an additional matinee performance July 20 at 2 p.m. All performances are presented in the Black Box Theatre, FAC 224, in the Chase Fine Arts Center on the USU campus. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased online at, or by calling the Caine College of the Arts Box Office at 435-797-8022. The apprentice showcase is made possible through the generosity of the George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation. For more information about the Old Lyric Repertory Company Apprentice Program, call 435-797-3046.

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