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Welcome to the Arden Theatre Company blog, where we share behind-the-scenes stories and current happenings with you. You will hear from the Arden staff as well as actors and other visiting artists, and we hope to hear from you, too. If you have an idea for a topic, please post a comment about it. We can't wait to hear what you think!

By Mark Kennedy, Arden Professional Apprentice Class 17

110% 

That’s what the Arden teaches its Professional Apprentices, the six young professionals entering the Philadelphia theatre community with a 10-month job at the Arden working in every department all day every day, to give of themselves. 110%.

Philly theatre artists are no strangers to giving more than it all, especially during the Live Arts/Fringe season every September. The Arden has started catching up with a few of its graduated APAs to see what they’re up to during Fringe time, which is usually a lot.

I have been fortunate enough to produce, write, and perform a solo performance piece at the Fleisher Art Memorial Sanctuary about a lovelorn little servant named Checkers, which I adapted from an absurdist play called Ivona, Princess of Burgundia. To meet dear Checkers in a few short and silly video trailers, click here and here.
I was an APA during the Arden’s 2009/2010 season (Class 17) and if I hadn’t had the job I would be nowhere near producing, writing, or performing anything that came from my own brain today. Confidence in my abilities aside, the apprenticeship gave me the hands-on knowledge about, well, everything you need to make the project actually happen. Specifically it taught me, amongst an infinite amount of other things, how to fundraise. Funnily enough, we ended up with 110% of our goal after two weeks. There’s that 110% again.

After the apprenticeship, many former APAs choose to stay in Philly and work in theatre here. You’ll see them pop up everywhere, if you look closely. Here’s just a taste of what some of my fellow former APAs are up to in and around the Fringe:

Katherine Fritz (Class 16), is costume designer for The Speed of Surprise! by the Groundswell Players, along with actor/creator Scott Shepard (Class 15), light designer Dominic Chacon (Class 10), and stage manager Bryan Kerr (recently graduated Class 18). She’s also costume advisor for the Philadelphia Artist Collective’s The Oresteia Project. When she’s not doing THAT, she’s working on her costume designs for 1812 Productions’ Mistakes Were Made and Flashpoint Theatre Company’s Fat Cat Killers, coming soon after the Fringe.
Meredith Sonnen (Class 17) is assistant stage manager for New Paradise Laboratories’ Extremely Public Displays of Privacy (I’m also helping coordinate the interactive walking tours for their Act II: Displays, and working on NPL’s new website, Frame). Meredith is also involved in the production management of Applied Mechanics’ Overseers, which includes Thomas Choinacky (Class 15) as a performer/creator.

Maura Roche (Class 16) is scenic designer for 11th Hour Theatre Company’s The Bomb-itty of Errors, with sound designer Mark Valenzuela (Class 12) and lighting designer Dominic Chacon (Class 10), and she’s production manager and scenic designer for Theatre Horizon’s Kimberly Akimbo, with technical director Jefferson Haynes (Class 10).

Hillary Rea (Class 16) is performing in Philly Improv Theatre’s Dark ComedyTara Demmy (Class 18) is performing in Philly Improv Thaetre’s Fresh Laughs, working on marketing for OMBELICO Mask Ensemble’s Run, Grunt, Sing: An Open-Air Theatric, and working as Volunteer Coordinator for the Philadelphia Live Arts/Fringe Festival. Check in to volunteer if you’d like to help out! Anneliese Van Arsdale (Class 13) works for the Festival as Development Manager.

Georgia Schlessman (Class 12) is Master Electrician at the Lantern Theatre Company and Temple University, and is on tech staff for the Live Arts Festival and overhire for many companies, recently including Pig Iron Theatre Company, the Wilma Theater, Rude Mechanicals, and Swim Pony, to name a few.
Erin Read (Class 14), former Artistic Assistant at the Arden, is working in the Live Arts/Fringe Box Office and is rehearsing for her role in Simpatico Theatre Project’s Dead Man’s Cell PhoneSteve Gravelle (Class 14) is working as Second Lead Dresser for Aspects of Love at the Walnut Street Theatre.

Courtney Spiker Martin (Class 11), the Arden’s Business Manager, and Andrew Wojtek (Class 18), working in Development at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, promised me they’d be avid supporters of their APA friends.
Join them, and check out these shows!

110%.

That’s what the Arden teaches its Professional Apprentices, the six young professionals entering the Philadelphia theatre community with a 10-month job at the Arden working in every department all day every day, to give of themselves. 110%.
Philly theatre artists are no strangers to giving more than it all, especially during the Live Arts/Fringe season every September. The Arden has started catching up with a few of its graduated APAs to see what they’re up to during Fringe time, which is usually a lot.
I have been fortunate enough to produce, write, and perform a solo performance piece at the Fleisher Art Memorial Sanctuary about a lovelorn little servant named Checkers, which I adapted from an absurdist play called Ivona, Princess of Burgundia. To meet dear Checkers in a few short and silly video trailers, click here and here.
I was an APA during the Arden’s 2009/2010 season (Class 17) and if I hadn’t had the job I would be nowhere near producing, writing, or performing anything that came from my own brain today. Confidence in my abilities aside, the apprenticeship gave me the hands-on knowledge about, well, everything you need to make the project actually happen. Specifically it taught me, amongst an infinite amount of other things, how to fundraise. Funnily enough, we ended up with 110% of our goal after two weeks. There’s that 110% again.
After the apprenticeship, many former APAs choose to stay in Philly and work in theatre here. You’ll see them pop up everywhere, if you look closely. Here’s just a taste of what some of my fellow former APAs are up to in and around the Fringe:
Katherine Fritz (Class 16), is costume designer for The Speed of Surprise! by the Groundswell Players, along with actor/creator Scott Shepard (Class 15), light designer Dominic Chacon (Class 10), and stage manager Bryan Kerr (recently graduated Class 18). She’s also costume advisor for the Philadelphia Artist Collective’s The Oresteia Project. When she’s not doing THAT, she’s working on her costume designs for 1812 Productions’ Mistakes Were Made and Flashpoint Theatre Company’s Fat Cat Killers, coming soon after the Fringe.
Meredith Sonnen (Class 17) is assistant stage manager for New Paradise Laboratories’ Extremely Public Displays of Privacy (I’m also helping coordinate the interactive walking tours for their Act II: Displays, and working on NPL’s new website, Frame). Meredith is also involved in the production management of Applied Mechanics’ Overseers, which includes Thomas Choinacky (Class 15) as a performer/creator.
Maura Roche (Class 16) is scenic designer for 11th Hour Theatre Company’s The Bomb-itty of Errors, with sound designer Mark Valenzuela (Class 12) and lighting designer Dominic Chacon (Class 10), and she’s production manager and scenic designer for Theatre Horizon’s Kimberly Akimbo, with technical director Jefferson Haynes (Class 10).
Hillary Rea (Class 16) is performing in Philly Improv Theatre’s Dark ComedyTara Demmy (Class 18) is performing in Philly Improv Thaetre’s Fresh Laughs, working on marketing for OMBELICO Mask Ensemble’s Run, Grunt, Sing: An Open-Air Theatric, and working as Volunteer Coordinator for the Philadelphia Live Arts/Fringe Festival. Check in to volunteer if you’d like to help out! Anneliese Van Arsdale (Class 13) works for the Festival as Development Manager.
Georgia Schlessman (Class 12) is Master Electrician at the Lantern Theatre Company and Temple University, and is on tech staff for the Live Arts Festival and overhire for many companies, recently including Pig Iron Theatre Company, the Wilma Theater, Rude Mechanicals, and Swim Pony, to name a few.
Erin Read (Class 14), former Artistic Assistant at the Arden, is working in the Live Arts/Fringe Box Office and is rehearsing for her role in Simpatico Theatre Project’s Dead Man’s Cell PhoneSteve Gravelle (Class 14) is working as Second Lead Dresser for Aspects of Love at the Walnut Street Theatre.
Courtney Spiker Martin (Class 11), the Arden’s Business Manager, and Andrew Wojtek (Class 18), working in Development at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, promised me they’d be avid supporters of their APA friends.

Join them, and check out these shows!

The Arden is proud to announce another premiere that is currently in production. As we keep with our mission, great stories by great storytellers, doctor we are very proud that some of our shows get picked up by other theatres.

 Here is another recent production:

 My Name Is Asher Lev by Aaron Posner

Photo of Michael Kary and Ben Tyler

 

Congratulations to the Arizona Jewish Theatre and the positive review! We know audiences will love this production.

Stay tuned for more exciting premieres and learning more about their lives after the Arden!

As you may know the Arden has premiered 31 performances with number 32 starting this week: Wanamaker’s Pursuit. But what happens to some of the works after they premiere at the here? As we keep with our mission, great stories by great storytellers, we are very proud that some of our shows get picked up by other theatres.

Here are two recent productions:

Photo by Sam Hough

Wittenberg by David Davalos

  • Premiered at the Arden in January 2008
  • Currently playing at The Pearl Theatre Co in NYC
  • The New York Times says “The nimble ensemle is nearly as comfortable with the theological heavy lifiting as it is with the lowbrow yucks with Mr. Greer taking top honors on both fronts… Hilarity, the name is ‘Wittenberg’.”  Read more at the New York Times.
  • Check out the review from Backstage.
  • Fun fact: Arden favorite Scott Greer reprises his role of Faustus

 

Photo by Ken Jacques

Ghost-Writer by Michael Hollinger

 

Congratulations to both of these new productions!

Stay tuned for more exciting premieres and learning more about their lives after the Arden!

©2009 Arden Theatre Company, 40 N. 2nd St., Philadelphia, PA 19106. For tickets, call 215.922.1122.
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