September 4, 2019
“I’m learning so much about how to live and work as a professional theatre maker, both performing and backstage, from classes and seminars—but also because I’m living it,” said Amanda Gilmore '20, who interned at the Williamstown Theatre Festival over the summer.
As a theatre major, Amanda Gilmore ’20 knows that the world of performing arts can be unpredictable and fast-paced. As an acting apprentice at Williamstown Theatre Festival this summer, she was able to live that truth, gaining hands-on experience and learning exactly what it takes (spoiler alert: a lot!) to put on an award-winning theatre festival.
“I have a few friends who worked with WTF and loved their experiences, so I did some research and decided to apply for the acting apprenticeship program,” said Gilmore, who is originally from Haverhill, Mass.
WTF describes its interns as the “lifeblood” of the festival—this group of students lives on the Williams College campus for the summer, assisting with every aspect of programming. They build sets, greet audiences, help with marketing, hang lights, and provide other support as needed.
“Our days are pretty unpredictable,” Gilmore said. “We do jobs across the board—lighting and scenic work calls, front-of-house shifts, and drives for equipment pickup, on top of acting in shows directed by the directing interns, taking classes, and a lot more.”
MCLA’s Performing Arts department prepared Gilmore for this—a liberal arts degree and curriculum means you learn how to pivot. “At MCLA, I’ve worked in every single different theatrical department in some capacity,” she said. “That has prepared me really well for this particular apprenticeship, as well as for my life after college.”
WTF apprentices also can take classes taught by the resident artists on staff, and can audition for festival productions. Gilmore is working as rehearsal stage manager for one of WTF’s directing fellows while she takes classes and does work calls.
“I’m learning so much about how to live and work as a professional theatre maker, both performing and backstage, from classes and seminars—but also because I’m living it,” Gilmore said. “This summer I’ve been working alongside professionals from all different backgrounds and disciplines, and all of them have taught me valuable things about being a professional in the field.”
After graduation, Gilmore plans to continue her career in theatre. She’s currently researching and cutting down a list of season-long residency programs that she would like to audition for in her first year post-graduation. “Down the line, I’m interested in going to grad school, but in the meantime I’m going to get out there and audition,” she said.
Are you an MCLA student, alumni, or faculty member? Do you want MCLA to share your story? Please email Creative and Brand Strategy Manager Francesca Olsen at Francesca.Olsen@mcla.edu.