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TAAP CLASS 2017: Kate Darby, Stage Management Apprentice

July 26, 2017

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I’m an artist– which I won’t take back, because those words naturally imply always seeking without ever fully finding. It’s the exact opposite of saying, ‘I know it already, I’ve already found it’. To the best of my knowledge, those words mean ‘I seek, I pursue, my heart is in it’.

– Vincent Van Gogh                                                                             

I am an artist.

You will not hear my voice, I am only seen in the soft glow of transitional light. Moving slowly across the stage in dark clothing carrying an armful of props. Yet here at Theatre Aspen I am able to make my mark and gladly say ‘I am an artist.”

An apprentice program like this one is rare. Through our last month of hard work and long hours, our class has been made to feel a part of this company, no less than the people we are working alongside. The professionals of this company represent the people that we aspire to become in our career. We have been shown our true potential; this business is a feasible career.

Stage management has been a part of my life for many years now. The crazy, uncertain years of high school to college to adult life were always supported by my work in theater. It is cliché but theater is where I found my home. My love of organizing and paperwork had a concrete purpose; my enjoyment of the creation of art was allowed to flourish; my focus on small details was considered a useful skill; so, I stayed in stage management.

Through Theatre Aspen’s Apprentice Program I have found mentors and friends that will last beyond this summer. I have been made to feel a part of the team and have in turn pulled my weight to assist those around me. I get to see my fellow apprentices shine through their own work all while remaining a genuinely kind group of artists.

Theatre Aspen lends itself to grand poetical statements to the point where people sometimes forget the blood, sweat, and tears that go into a season at our tent. It is important to acknowledge the hard days and the minute details that have to be remembered are a part of this business. Learning to keep up with the pace and problems that come from this type of process is imperative. With three shows up, working in a variety of roles, I have learned so much about just how much is needed to perform at the quality of Theatre Aspen and how to bring that quality to the rest of my work.

There is so much more to this apprenticeship than just booking it and learning from mentors. I have been encouraged to grow, to challenge my work, and to understand the paths of other people. Every day I wake up surrounded by mountains and at the end each day staring up at the span of stars overhead. Great bookends to days filled with the work that I consider my career.

I am a stage manager. I am a technician. I am an artist. “I seek, I pursue, my heart is in it.”

Kate Darby