Well, here you are. Somehow, in all your internet wanderings, you landed here: The blog for the Apprentice Company at Mill Mountain Theatre. Boy, are we glad found us! My name is Jay Briggs, and as co-director of the company, I, alongside my partner-in-crime Travis Kendrick, am responsible for keeping the nine early-career artists who have joined us this summer moving in as many directions as their boundless energy will allow.

What is the Apprenticeship, you ask? Well, the Apprenticeship at Mill Mountain Theatre is an educational program where early career artists refine their skills in a professional setting. As a component of our outreach work, the company performs a family-friendly touring show, free of charge, throughout the greater Roanoke area. They also perform in a musical as part of our Waldron Fringe Series. And, as if that wasn’t enough for seven weeks, throughout their time in residence they take master classes, serve as teaching assistants in our summer camps, spend time in various departments within the organization learning first-hand the daily operations of a small regional theatre, and produce and perform a showcase of their own creation.

We have intentionally sought out artists who possess not only a strong performance and technical skills, but also express genuine interest in outreach, education, and a conviction in the power of theatre to contribute to building strong communities. This year’s Apprentices come to us from points all over the United States. They are actors, singers, dancers, directors, designers, engineers, educators, students, and leaders. Their backgrounds and experiences are diverse and unique. Part of what we have invited them to this summer is to build a company as unique as the experiences they bring to it. We are challenging them to forge new relationships, to build a healthy community within their ensemble in order to make a positive contribution to the Roanoke community they inhabit this summer.

This blog is an outgrowth of that challenge. Reflection is an important aspect of any season of growth, and we have asked the company to actively engage in self-reflection throughout their time in residence. The blog is a forum for company members to share their moments of insight, their struggles, their joys and stresses from a summer where they are beginning to pull together what might seem like a patchwork of interests into quilt they can call their passion.

Check back often for new posts from the company. We hope to see you at a performance this summer!