It takes a village to run a theatre like Orlando REP, and one of the most important parts of our village are our Youth Academy Apprentices. These amazing middle and high school aged volunteers work in conjunction with our Teaching Artists as mentors and role models for many of our different programs, and we could not function without them! We sat down with Annalivia, a current Apprentice, to talk about her experiences with Orlando Family Stage and share what it is like to be an Apprentice.

Tell us about your first experiences with the REP.

In first grade, I came with a school field trip to see Pinkalicious. I came back again that week because I loved it so much. I started attending actual camps the summer before sixth grade. I still have relationships with the Teaching Artists from those camps, especially Mr. Jeffrey, Mr. Jarrett, and Miss Heather. Performing on the last day was my favorite part!

What is it about theatre that you love so much?

I love pretending to be a different person. I get tired of being myself for a while, and theatre helps with risk taking and being creative. It can sometimes be nerve-wracking, but once you’re there and speaking the lines, you feel comfortable.

How has theatre helped you personally?

It’s really helped my writing skills. I had to write a four-minute play for school. I based it on medical experiences being under-weight to help people be aware of eating disorders and being aware of how what you say can influence others. It’s also helped grow my interest in the history of theatre and music, and it inspires me to write for fun.

Why did you want to be an Apprentice?

I attended the Pitch Perfect camp a few years ago and met an Apprentice. I asked her about how she got involved, then I applied online and interviewed. I’d been a babysitter before and loved working with kids, so I thought this would help improve my patience and teach me about child development.

What is your favorite thing about being an Apprentice?

I’m helping the teaching artists who are working with the kids, and it has come to this level where I have to be a teeny-tiny bit authoritative and firm. It makes me feel more confident, though it can be intimidating when you don’t know what to do. It has motivated me to become a better leader and role model. It’s just a lot of fun to interact with “the younger generation.” I like to see them learn. Sometimes I can see the gears turning in their heads. That was me at one point! Was I really that innocent? It’s cool to reflect back and see that learning.

What is your favorite memory from your experiences as an Apprentice?

There was a boy in Cardboard Creators who told me he wanted to spend the whole day with me. I saw him the next day at Bed Bath & Beyond and he gave me the biggest hug!

What career goals do you have for yourself and how has working at the REP helped you with those goals?

I want to keep working at Orlando Family Stage and be a teaching artist someday. I also want to go to UCF and get a degree in Biology and eventually become a veterinarian or maybe a doctor. I’m obsessed with animals. I have six pets now. I have four cats and two dogs. I’m allergic to all of them, but it will never make me stop loving animals. I’m also interested in working with kids who are special needs and maybe being a therapist. I’m really interested in kids with cochlear implants. Working at Orlando Family Stage has helped me because working with kids is part of what I want to do in my future. It’s taught me patience and prepared me for what’s to come. It’s helped me get into the minds of younger kids more easily.

What advice do you have for other teens wanting to become Apprentices?

I definitely recommend it. It’s helped me so much. It’s not all going to be cupcakes and rainbows, but I still think it’s a really good experience. My mom is a teacher, and she told me that being uncomfortable is really just a learning point. The kids are really funny, and I get a rush of energy and happiness being around them. I love being there for the kids, being helpful, and knowing that I’m doing a good thing helping out.

Annalivia brings so much joy to Orlando REP! Her smile doesn’t just sit in her mouth but lights up her whole face. Even when you ask her to be serious, her eyes are still bright with joy. She can’t help it! Our classes are so lucky to have her, and we are so proud of her growth and development over the years. We look forward to what she is going to do in the future.


If you would like more information about becoming an Apprentice for the 2020-2021 school year, keep an eye on our website!

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