My name is Shana Ferguson, and if you have visited Imagination Stage in the past few months, you have definitely seen me around. Maybe you saw me in the booth running the sound board for P.Nokio and Seussical, or hanging out with some fun loving bears in Wake Up, Brother Bear!, or even handing you tickets to Anime Momotaro at the Will Call window. Or perhaps you were one of the few lucky parents who caught my rubber band Taylor Swift concert at the reception desk. Either way, as an apprentice, you’re very likely to find me (and my fellow apprentices) somewhere in the building.
I graduated from college in 2011 (go Terps!) and worked in the DC area as a stage manager. I had the opportunity to work with some amazing people on some wonderful shows, but I really wanted the chance to continue my education and become better-rounded as a theater technician. Since I am a former student of Imagination Stage, I knew I wanted to check out the apprenticeship program here. I decided to apply, and was very fortunate to get the job!
When people ask me what I do here, the short answer is that I am a production apprentice. I work in all areas of production, which means that I can get to do super cool things like use power tools, climb ladders, fix props, and sew costumes every day. The long answer is that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to really accurately define all there is to being an apprentice.
Imagination Stage’s motto is “Serious Fun!”, and I truly believe that the apprenticeship program embodies that to a tee. We do work very hard – there are long hours and tough days. But for every challenge, there is a reward. I get to work on interesting projects and be a part of amazing productions. I get to work alongside people who are always supportive, ready to lend a hand, value my skills, and care about what I want to learn while working in this program. My supervisors and co-workers are always there for me, and working in such a positive, creative environment means that the tough days rarely last for very long.
What makes the apprenticeship at Imagination Stage different than similar programs at other organizations is the opportunity to explore all of your interests, and not limit yourself. I have the opportunity to work in and learn about all areas of production, which was very important to me. And while I wanted to gain more experience in technical theater, I also have a strong background in working with children. Here all of the apprentices are welcome to teach, assist, or work as an IF in classes in addition to our chosen area of focus. The fact that I can be on a ladder focusing lights in the morning and assisting in a ‘Magic Suitcase’ creative drama class in the afternoon is what makes this such a wonderful experience.
My favorite moments of the job so far have been when I have been given the opportunity to work alongside the other apprentices as a team. We have definitely become a family. Although we work in different departments, have different backgrounds and skills, when we collaborate we can accomplish anything.
I have already learned so much through this experience that I know I will take with me as I continue to work in theater. At the end of this year not only will I be walking away with sharper technical skills, I will be walking away with friends and mentors that I will be staying connected with for years to come
The apprenticeship at Imagination Stage is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs I have ever had. I would recommend this job to anyone who is looking to be challenged, work in a creative and supportive environment, and is ready to learn something new every day.
Imagination Stage is now accepting applications through March 1, 2013, for the 2013-2014 Professional Apprenticeship Program. For more information, including how to apply, click here.