Aaron Sinclair, a rising senior at Bishop Moore High School, has loved performing on stage since he was in fourth grade. In sixth grade he got the role of Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol,” which he says was challenging but enjoyable. Then in high school his love for acting started to wane a little. Luckily in the spring of last year he saw the Garden Theatre’s productions of “A Raisin in the Sun” and “Godspell” which renewed his interest in theatre and inspired him to apply for the Daniel Mills Apprenticeship.
“I was completely terrified. I’d never done community theater before. I’d only been in school plays,” Sinclair says. “I was both scared of being rejected and scared I’d get the apprenticeship.”
When he received the news that he was one of the 30 students to receive the apprenticeship—his younger sister Sydney Francis was also given an apprenticeship—he was a bit surprised but ready to dive back into acting.
Experience at the Theatre
Now that the 2021-22 season apprenticeship is ending, Sinclair reflects on how grateful he is to have been an apprentice.
One of Sinclair’s favorite parts of the program was participating in a devised plays project. In this project all the apprentices collaborate to create, write, produce, and perform monologues from scratch. According to the Garden Theatre educational team, the theme of the 2021-22 devised project was “the search for personal identity and how community can support the discovery and definition of who we are.”
Sinclair wrote a monologue about labels. “I wanted to express how people label each other, and how you can let go of labels, find acceptance and learn to love yourself,” Sinclair says.
Sinclair highlights the Garden Theatre’s strong emphasis on creating a positive environment for performers and stage technicians as one of the key benefits of the apprenticeship
As Sinclair explains it, being a part of the apprenticeship was different than being in a school theater class or drama club. It felt like a positive environment that encouraged creative expression.
“I’m not saying school theater is bad or wrong, just that it’s different. In the apprenticeship we were asked how we were feeling and to talk about our own experiences. It felt validating to have the focus on us, not just our performances,” Sinclair says.
Sinclair wants to continue his acting education and has hopes it may extend into college and maybe even a career. As captain of his speech and debate club at school, Sinclair uses what he’s learned in theater by writing speeches and doing performances before competitions. He also looks forward to writing plays and monologues in the future.
Sinclair advises younger performers to not hold themselves back but bring a part of themselves to their characters. He says doing so is a great way to improve your performance and have fun. “Don’t think about what others think about you. Think about what the audience is going to experience through your storytelling.”
Note: The Daniel Mills Apprenticeship, which is generously provided to young theater students by the Mills family will continue at the Garden Theatre for the 2022-23 season and will also be offered at Orlando Shakes this season. As of press time, application deadlines have already passed and students have been chosen for both programs but not officially announced yet.