Celebrating our Apprentices!

The Venice Institute for Performing Arts is pleased to honor the 11 Venice High School students completing this year’s Apprenticeship Program, putting the spotlight on their hard work, dedication, and growth in the world of theater and beyond!  Every year, VHS students are given the opportunity to work hands-on with industry professionals in all areas of the performing arts from lighting and sound, to house management and patron relations, and are also paid for their time. For many of them, it is their first professional work experience, and enables them to graduate with enriching arts-industry experience. Here is what the students had to say about their time in the program:

Thomas Herr, Senior

I’ve gained a great knowledge of theatre that I wouldn’t have if I hadn’t worked here, and an interest in theatre that I didn’t know I had. I’ve also met a lot of people who can help me in my life.  I’ve built relationships with other people who can assist me throughout my career.”

Upon graduation, Thomas plans to keep working in theatre production and join the local stagehands union.



Teagan Ericson, Junior

“I’ve learned so much, whether just about working in general because this is my first job, or about the “behind-the-scene” aspect – like cables and lighting.  It’s been a whole new learning experience.”

Teagan hopes to continue with the Apprenticeship Program in her upcoming senior year.


Andrew Eason, Senior

I love working in the box office- helping people purchase tickets.  I have also gotten very good at helping with administrative tasks and being helpful without being asked.”

Andrew plans to attend the State College of Florida after graduation.


All 11 participants of the 2017-18 Apprenticeship Program should feel proud and accomplished. VIPA is thrilled to have been able to grow this educational opportunity into a program where students can learn, gain job experience, and be a part of the community. In total, the students worked nearly 1,100 hours on over 40 shows from September to May, often times right after school, or on weekends, and attended at least one educational workshop. These workshops included: resume building, conversations with local professionals in the field, and stage performances. In total, the apprentices earned approximately $10,000 for their time and dedication.

If you would like to get involved with VIPA’s educational programs and help expand for the upcoming season, the time is right! On May 1st, the Venice Institute for Performing Arts will be participating in the 2018 Giving Challenge, sponsored by the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, with Giving Strengthened by the Patterson Foundation.

This 24-hour event, from noon on May 1st to noon on May 2nd, is your chance to #BeTheOne! You can make a difference by supporting the Institute and its five educational programs for the students of Sarasota County. All donations are matched 100%, and can be made starting from $25. All donations must be made online at www.GivingPartnerChallenge.org.  If you would like to learn more about VIPA’s mission, goals, community impact, and needs, please visit www.TheGivingPartner.org. We’ll see you on May 1st!

“Funds raised during the Giving Challenge will help the Institute to provide an additional 340 hours of training and educational workshops to apprentices during the 2018-2019 season,” says Becca Eldredge, Managing Director.

Thank you to Andrew Eason, Teagan Ericson, Crystal Fox, Thomas Herr, Julia Lee, Amanda O’Reilly, Jordan Riddle, Dustin Smith, Aaron Spencer, Seth Stavarz, and Jillian Steffens. All apprentices will be celebrated on May 1st as they are awarded their certificate for completing the 2017-2018 program.