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Production Apprentice Program

Arizona Opera 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 Shop. 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!

Interested in applying for the Production Apprentice Program? Click below to submit your application. 

For more information about the Production Apprentice Program, please contact Greg Hirsch at


2021/22 Production Apprentices


Cody Grasher

Cody Grasher

Journeyman Costume Apprentice (Stitcher)

Hometown: Grain Valley, Missouri

Education: BA in Theatre with an emphasis in Design and Technical from the University of Missouri

Experience: Worked as a stitcher/dresser for the Larry D. Clark Summer Repertory Theatre at Mizzou, worked as a costume studio technician for the University of Missouri's Theatre Department, worked as a stitcher/dresser intern for the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, and returned as a stitcher for another season at the Utah Festival Opera


Tenaya Tidwell, Costume Apprentice

Tenaya Tidwell

1st Year Costume Apprentice

Hometown: Surprise, Arizona

Education: BFA Theatre - Costume Design & Production from University of Arizona

Experience: Seamstress/Tailoress at Sun City Alterations in Sun City, AZ; Seamstress Intern at Tailored In White bridal boutique in Scottsdale, AZ; Stitcher/Embellisher, Draper, First Hand, Prop Maker & Costume Assistant for the University of Arizona Theatre Department.



Kayla Zeimet Headshot

Kayla Zeimet

1st Year Costume Apprentice

Hometown: DeWitt, IA

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Theatre: Design and Production from the University of Northern Iowa

Experience: Worked as a costume studio technician for the University of Northern Iowa’s Theatre Department, worked as a costume studio/wardrobe intern for the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre, returning as the assistant wardrobe supervisor and once more as the wardrobe supervisor.


Megan Ross Headshot

Megan Ross

1st Year Stage Management Apprentice

Hometown: Layton, Utah

Education: BA in theatre with an emphasis in technical theatre and a minor in film studies from Colorado State University.

Experience: Worked as the stage manager for Canterbury Summer Theatre and at Colorado State University’s Theatre Department in Opera, Dance and Theatre, an ASM at B street Theatre, and Props Run Crew for Santa Fe Opera.



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