The Apprenticeship Program

How did actors learn their craft before the invention of college theatre programs? In the past, actors and theatre artists learned their craft by joining a company of performers and technicians, under the leadership of the director, principle actors, and other masters. Over time, the apprentices became proficient enough to become masters in their own right.

How It Works

Apprentices are hired to work with Dr. Conte for the equivalent of two semesters at a typical college, approximately two terms of 15 weeks each. Each apprentice will receive a $500 stipend per semester. Between 3-5 apprentices will be hired for the 2022-2023 season.

Apprentices take classes in Acting, Dramatic Literature, Theatre History, and participate in a Physical Training program that includes martial arts, stage combat, and ballet. These classes are offered to apprentices at no charge in exchange for their work on productions.

Classes are conducted at the Studio Theatre in downtown Casper, WY. Classes meet in the late afternoon/early evening before rehearsals.

How Is This Different From College Theatre Programs?

Asheton Capps as Laertes threatens William Conte as Claudius in Hamlet

The short answer is: time and money. The summary below indicates the cost of annual enrollment in a typical community college in Wyoming. It does not include the costs for personal expenses, which the institution estimates at $1700.

As you can see, the total cost to Wyoming residents for instruction in a community college theatre program is $13,730 per year. The activities scholarships that theatre programs offer will offset part of the tuition, but usually not all of it. Without additional grants or awards, Wyoming students and their families could pay $20,000 or more for an Associates of Arts degree. Students who borrow the difference will be obliged to repay the loans regardless of whether they complete their degree, and increasingly, students are taking three years and more to complete two year degrees.

TotP Apprentices can focus entirely on learning about acting, rehearsing, and performing. Apprentices become part of a supportive Ensemble consisting of former apprentices and students of Dr. Conte.

Other Benefits Include:

  • no “gen eds”
  • no grades or exams or assignments to worry about: just come to class and learn on your own terms
  • no student loan debt
  • the experience of living independently and being responsible for oneself
  • opportunities to play important roles in EVERY production
  • opportunities to direct and mount your own productions and creative projects
  • exposure to diverse perspectives, experiences, and performance styles

Cost Comparative: Traditional College vs. Apprenticeship

With full tuition remission, cost is around $11,000 per year, including personal expenses.
Ensemble members at the first reading of Largo Desolato

Hear What Our Apprentices Say

Last years’ apprentices share their experiences

Daniel Igleheart as Hamlet

Questions? Lay It On Us.

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