Old Brick opens with 22nd year of apprentices

“The Old Brick helped my find my best self,” wrote one alumni apprentice student, while an another alumni stated that, “I was feeling alone and the Old Brick Playhouse made me realize how important I am.” Now in it’s 22nd season, The Old Brick Playhouse Apprentice Program for secondary students begins in October and meets biweekly until May when it culminates in a main stage production.

Through theater, music and movement training led by caring and positive adults, the apprentice program provides students with the opportunity to thrive both on stage and in life. The Old Brick Playhouse’s goal is to prompt creative growth through a structured and supportive environment where ensemble methods are encouraged to teach cooperation and teamwork. In 2009, The Old Brick Playhouse Apprentice program was honored at the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama with the Coming Up Taller Award as one of the best Arts Education Programs Nationwide.

The first orientation meeting for Apprentices will be today, Monday, Oct. 7 from 4-5:30 p.m.

“We never know how many students will participate,” said Old Brick Playhouse Executive Director Missy Armentrout McCollam. “For the past several years it has been upwards of 90 students. It is mystifying that so many diverse personalities can collaborate to make something beautiful in their final production.” Boasting an alumni roster of over 2,800 students, The Apprentices have performed everything from Shakespeare to world premier musicals.

Assistant Director Phil Smith remarked, “We try to select a play that fits the group, and the subject matter then becomes the focus of several months of research and learning. For example when we performed ‘Titanic Lives,’ our students spent a great deal of time learning about the social and economic climate that led into World War I. Not only do we teach students various aspects of theater but also history and literature.”

Each weekly workshop contains a segment called Sixty Second Seminar. These are mini-lessons on life skills.

“Last year we did a Sixty Second Seminar with our students on how to place a proper phone call and also how to schedule an appointment. We want them to leave the Old Brick with the confidence to deal with the world,” said Armentrout McCollam.

In addition to the regular workshops, apprentices have the opportunity to participate in other Old Brick Playhouse programs such as mentoring younger students, volunteering on the Polar Express or performing in other venues.

“Our goal is to teach them that everyone is different, but everyone is important,” Armentrout McCollam said.

To enroll your son or daughter into The Old Brick Playhouse Apprentice Program, send them to the orientation today, Oct. 7. For questions or more information phone

The Old Brick at 304-637-9090 or log in to www.tholdbrick.org.