This month, the Garden Theatre will officially announce the recipients of the W. Daniel Mills Apprenticeship for the 2022-23 season. For a second year, Central Florida theater arts students get a chance to earn while they learn.
According to Garden Theatre Artistic Directing Consultant Roberta Emerson, this year’s crop of apprentices is raising the bar.
History of the Apprenticeship
The W. Daniel Mills Apprenticeship was named in honor of 16-year-old Monteverde Academy student Daniel Mills, who tragically died in a boating accident in 2020. The program, which is generously funded by Daniel’s parents Harold and Rosy Mills, is a way of remembering Daniel’s artistic spirit and supporting other theater art students.
Like apprenticeships in other skilled trades, such as carpentry, cooking, and hairstyling, the W. Daniel Mills Apprenticeship offers a structured form of paid worker training that combines on-the-job learning with classroom or workshop instruction. The yearlong apprenticeship accepts applications in July from artists ages 13 to 22 who are interested in apprenticing in performance, theater direction, design, technical work, and performing arts education.
A Wealth of Learning
All this year’s applicants submitted a short video and went through an interview or audition process before they were selected for the program.
Once chosen, all apprentices have access to Garden Theatre’s education masterclasses, camps, and other learning events at no cost, and will also be able to attend rehearsals for free.
As part of their training, apprentices will participate in weekly professional development workshops and will take part in an original/devised production. Past apprentices have said getting to work on a production from conceptualizing a theme to performing for an audience was extremely beneficial and artistically rewarding for them.
Adding even more value to the program, all apprentices are considered for paid opportunities working on Garden Theatre mainstage productions and education programs.
A program like this is not common in the Central Florida performing arts community, making it an extremely sought-after apprenticeship.
Emerson says she is impressed with this year’s group of apprentices. “We are so encouraged, motivated, and excited about all our Daniel Mills Apprentices. We look forward to seeing how they hone their theater arts skills.”
Keep Up to Date: Look for profiles on different 2022-23 W. Daniel Mills Apprenticeship Program recipients every issue.