The Playhouse teen program, also known as Apprentice Entertainment, is an afterschool program for teens that gives them experience in all aspects of mounting an event, from design and scripting to casting and stagecraft to promotion and execution of the final production. While the program’s roots are in theatre, the event could be anything from an ice-cream social to a parade – the students decide what they want to do, and then they do it, under the guidance of experienced teachers and mentors.
“Apprentice Entertainment is all about qualitative learning by experience, not teaching to test. Students graduating from the program have gone on to perform in and even create local theatrical productions – the only limit is their imagination!”Sarah McKinney, Program Director
At the end of each year, program participants get together and plan out what to do the next year. During the course of the program, there are workshops and activities that bring together teens from diverse backgrounds and of widely differing abilities to create a program that gives back to the community. Teens are introduced to the concept of long-term project planning, detailed planning, responsibility, and respect for other people’s space.
“Apprentice showed me that through art, you can bring a community together. As a creative outlet through the Playhouse, we weren’t restricted by school standards or people who didn’t want to contribute because it’s a program that you choose to be in. It gave us the opportunity to do things that we would have never been able to do anywhere else such as; writing and directing plays, and putting on dances and events.”Former Apprentice Member and AHS graduate Mackenzie Ridgwood
The group comes together naturally through “speed-friending” social activities. Older teens are encouraged to mentor younger participants, and students with special needs find security in the predictability of activities that build towards a concrete goal. Peer support plays an important role in how participants address learning and behavioral differences within the group, opening doors and liberating hidden talents.