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Production Apprentice Program

Arizona Opera 2021/22 Production Apprentices
2021/22 Production Apprentices. Photo by Chris Loomis

Arizona Opera’s Production Apprentice Program bridges the divide between academic studies and a professional career, helping young theater technicians learn the skills and gain the experience necessary to begin their careers with confidence. Founded in 2015 with the help of Dr. Paul Symchych, the program began with just two apprentices working in the costume shop.

Arizona Opera provides a unique opportunity for apprentices to gain professional experience in all aspects of producing quality performances. In addition to paying an hourly wage, our distinctive program provides comprehensive cross-discipline training, networking opportunities, masterclasses, and essential portfolio reviews.


Things to Know About the Program

  • This is a unique opportunity to gain practical experience in your chosen field working at the state of Arizona’s only professional opera company, located near downtown Phoenix.
  • An apprentice’s performance is monitored; individual meetings are held and evaluations are given.
  • An apprenticeship is a wonderful way to find out if a job in theater is the career you are seeking.
  • The apprentice program does not offer a degree or certificate.
  • Apprenticeships range from single-production opportunities to full-season commitments.
  • Apprentices’ weekly schedules will vary with their duties and the requirements of the overall production/administrative schedule.
  • Compensation is $14 per hour. Hours for apprentices may vary from week to week depending on the category of the apprenticeship and the Arizona Opera Production Schedule.
  • Prospective apprentices should carefully evaluate their individual financial situations when applying to the program. Living in Phoenix can be expensive.
  • Being an apprentice is a serious work commitment. An outside job cannot be relied upon as an income supplement.
  • It is suggested that housing be secured prior to beginning an apprenticeship.
  • Public transportation is readily available in downtown Phoenix; however, Phoenix is a sprawling city with many suburbs, so consider your transportation needs.


Apprenticeship Opportunities

Costumes/Wardrobe Apprentice
This apprenticeship allows early career costumers to develop their skills as a member of the Arizona Opera Marlu Allan and Scott Stallard Costume Artisan Workshop. Participants will work one-on-one with the costume staff, professional Costume Designers and the rest of the Arizona Opera production team. During the season, the Costume Shop works to produce five full-scale opera productions, two educational touring productions, and often assists with additional work for other departments and local theatre companies. We are seeking candidates who are interested in contributing to the process in this fast-paced environment. We emphasize team building and collaboration. Participants will function as members of the costume shop team, supporting the Costume Shop and Designers with duties that may include: garment constructions, alterations, crafting, research, assisting Costume Designers, fabric and material swatching, sourcing and shopping garments, assisting with rentals, attending and documenting fittings, costume plots and tracking, pulling and re-stocking the costume warehouse, and costume strike after each production. Costume apprentices are also expected to participate in the general maintenance of all costume stock areas. Applicants must be self-motivated, responsible, diligent, creative and work well in a team. One to two years of professional or collegiate costume experience is expected. Computer proficiency is required. Familiarity with stitching, basic alteration, craftwork, and millinery is preferred.


Production/Technical Apprentice
The Production/Technical apprenticeship is designed for the young professional who is looking to pursue a management role in the implementation of opera/theatrical productions. The apprenticeship will focus on computer aided drafting (CAD), labor and material estimation, analysis of structural and aesthetic requirements for construction, rigging, shop management, safe practices for scenery creation, installation, and strike. Through time spent working in the Arizona Opera Scenic Studio and in the theatres side-by-side with the Director of Production and the Technical Director, the apprentice will learn the physical and mental skills necessary for a professional career. This apprenticeship will also provide exposure to the practices of professional theatrical construction and the development of skills in metalworking and finish carpentry, along with cross-discipline exposure to other areas of focus and general maintenance of our inventory and spaces. The ideal candidate will have an undergraduate degree and/or equivalent professional experience in technical theater. By the end of the apprenticeship, the apprentice will have the opportunity to manage a small-scale production.


Stage Management Apprentice
From pre-production meetings to rehearsals and into performances, stage management apprentices serve as assistant stage managers. The work requires great organizational skills and close contact with conductors and directors. It is essential that the apprentice be able to interact with a wide variety of personalities and adapt to various working styles. This includes being able to receive evaluations of his/her work. Additionally, the apprentice must stay focused, take initiative, and maintain a professional demeanor in the work place. Applicants must possess strong writing and computer skills. There is an emphasis on producing quality paperwork. The successful applicant will have at least a bachelor’s degree in theater and some professional experience as stage manager or assistant stage manager—either in theater or opera—and must be able to read music.


Apply Now!

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2023/24 Production Apprentices


April Maytorena

April Maytorena

1st Year Costume/Wardrobe Apprentice

Hometown: Rio Rico, Arizona

Education: Arizona State University, B.A of Theatre (Design and Production)

Experience: Both their work and education revolved around being a costume assistant at the Arizona State University Costume Shop for the past four years. Professionally, they were an Alteration Specialist at David’s Bridal. Maytorena also had the opportunity to be a backstage stitcher for My Fair Lady at Gammage. For the summer, they were a dressing apprentice at the Santa Fe Opera. Maytorena wants to continue expanding their horizons and learn as much as they can.


Kenzie Laughlin

Kenzie Laughlin

1st Year Costume Apprentice

Hometown: Ventura, California

Education: BFA in Design/Technology with an emphasis in Costume Design from the University of Arizona

Experience: Worked as a Designer, Assistant Designer, Wardrobe Head, and Draper at Arizona Repertory Theatre; Worked as a Costume Assistant at Aspen Music Festival.



Arizona Opera’s Production Apprentice Program is made possible through the support of: Karen Fruen, Paul S. Symchych, M.D., Billie Jo and Judd Herberger, Nancy Foster, and Fred and Arleen Schwartz.

If you are passionate about continuing the traditions of opera for the next generation, this is your opportunity! For more information about supporting this program, or to inquire about sponsoring an apprentice, contact Ashley Parks at 602.218.7337 or