SANTA FE — The Santa Fe Opera has announced the 78 members of its 2019 Season Apprentice Program for Theater Technicians.
This season’s program is comprised of technicians, designers and craftspeople from across New Mexico, the wider United States, South America, England and China.
The 78 individuals were selected from a pool of more than 900 applicants through a competitive screening and interview process by the Opera’s Production Department Heads. Santa Fe Opera Production and Recruiting Coordinator Tracy Armagost facilitates the program, which includes recruitment, hiring and programming for each season.
Established in 1965, the Apprentice Program for Theater Technicians has since provided intermediate and advanced instruction and practical experience to young technicians in all aspects of stage operations. Among the first of its kind in America, now more than 3,500 aspiring technicians have participated in the internationally recognized program.
Former Technical Apprentices have gone on to careers as professional technicians and designers for both stage and film work; others work in production at opera, theater and ballet companies worldwide. Recently of note is former Technical Apprentice Ruth E. Carter, who made record books earlier this year as the first African American to win the Academy Award for Best Costume Design for her work on Black Panther. This season, former Technical Apprentice Shawna Lucey returns to direct The Pearl Fishers and former Technical Apprentice JAX Messenger will make his Santa Fe Opera debut as the Lighting Designer for Così fan tutte.
Each season, Technical Apprentices perform a variety of backstage functions within one of seven separate running crews: Audio/Visual, Costumes, Electrics, Production/Music Services, Properties, Scenery, and Wigs and Makeup. These crews carry out the majority of work on daily changeovers between the season’s five operas. Technical Apprentices also fill positions crucial to the live running of productions. In addition, this year’s apprentices will produce two fully-staged and costumed Apprentice Scenes on August 11 and 18, 2019, allowing them to showcase their work to the public.
Each participant also will have the opportunity to work with the Opera’s production staff of experienced designers, master technicians and craftspeople from theaters, opera companies and universities across the globe. In some cases, production staff are themselves former Technical Apprentices who credit the program as instrumental to their professional advancement.