Windermere Preparatory School senior Caroline Becker is the first recipient of the W. Daniel Mills Apprenticeship Program at Garden Theatre. She says she is excited to be getting the opportunity to learn from theater professionals and use what she learns during the Garden Theatre’s 2021-22 season.
According to Garden Theatre Education Director Nick Bazo the thing that made Becker stand out from other applicants for the apprenticeship was the fact that she was the only design-focused applicant and that she was well prepared.
“Caroline came to the interview with work samples of her costume design and was extremely knowledgeable about theatrical costuming,” Bazo says.
Described by Garden Theatre staff as a hard worker who is always ready with a laugh and a helping hand, Becker started her theater journey by acting in school plays when she was in second grade. While she enjoyed performing, she felt a little anxious about being in the spotlight. Instead of give up on theater all together, Becker found another way to still be involved without the nervousness of having to perform.
Becker says she always liked to draw and sew and when her older brother Christopher worked in the production department for The Little Shop of Horrors play she saw that the world of custom design had all the elements she enjoyed: color, creativity and bringing something to life. “My brother got to work on Audrey (the man-eating plant puppet in the play) and it just looked so cool. I could see how fabric, strings, and other materials could be transformed into this living thing. I was hooked,” Caroline says.
Caroline is most interested in historical costuming. She says her dream is to design for a production focusing on the Rococo era, which is defined by extravagant petticoats, highly ornamented clothing, light colors and heavy materials. Caroline worked on costuming for a friend’s play based on the book The Tale of Despereaux and loved getting to work on the subtleties of his fur looking like it was dusted with flour. “It’s a fun challenge to try to make something look like what you draw or see in your mind,” she says.
Costuming is more than sewing. She also helps actors do quick changes, which can be as fast as 20 seconds, to get ready for a new scene. While recently working on The Bodyguard: The Musical at the Garden Theatre, Caroline got plenty of opportunities to do quick changes, which she likens to being a part of a racecar pit crew. She says working on The Bodyguard was thrilling and extremely satisfying. “I get to work with other professionals who are passionate about the theater and they’re all so supportive and positive, too. I feel like everyone’s got my back,” Caroline says.
Next up for Caroline this year is finishing her senior year, the apprenticeship, a part-time job at Disney Springs, and selecting where she’ll go to college. “I’m just so happy to be getting to do what I love, thanks to the [W. Daniel Mills] Apprenticeship. I can’t wait to see what happens this year,” Caroline says.