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Introducing the 2015-2016 Performing Apprentices…

We are thrilled to introduce our 2015-2016 Performing Apprentices (PAs) – China Brickey and John Jamison. CTC’s Performing Apprentice program supports and nurtures the lives of young professionals in the arts by providing an immersive experience which includes roles in nearly every production, mentorship across departments, and a living wage. As one of the premier apprenticeship programs in the nation, CTC holds auditions across the country to select two Performing Apprentices each season.

We spoke to China and John about their history with theatre and what they’re most looking forward to in their season at CTC. Here’s what they had to say:

China Brickey

CTC: What made you want to get involved in theatre?

China Brickey: I didn’t get serious about theatre until I was deciding what I should do the summer before I started high school. During that summer at theatre camp, I learned a few things which began my love for theatre – acting and theatre is not about lying, it is about telling the truth; it’s not a bad thing to be loud, in fact in theatre it’s essential (my friends always used to tell me I was yelling when I would speak passionately about something); and that theatre is not about a star, but a team, an ensemble. At theatre camp, I found friends who were weird and excitable and who liked to sing loudly (my favorite part), and who could really make me laugh. That is why I started doing theatre, but I stayed in theatre because I love to teach and share, to make people laugh and cry (which may sound cliché, but what an incredible thing to be able to do!), and make the world a better, more connected, more understanding, funnier, happier, friendlier, safer, smarter place. I believe theatre is an art like no other and I love it deeply.

CTC: What has being involved in theatre taught you about yourself as a person and as an artist?

CB: One of the things I love about theatre is that it’s very similar to being a teacher: you never stop learning. I used to think of myself as a loner and still consider myself an introvert but theatre has taught me that I love and need people. Theatre is about stories, and stories are about people, their experiences and their struggles. Theatre challenges me every day to understand people unlike myself. Theatre taught me that I have often been too quick to judge, and show after show peels that away from me. The world becomes simpler as I learn that everyone is just trying to survive and/or find happiness, and more complicated as I learn that most questions don’t have a clear answer. Theatre has taught me that I love helping people grow, and inspiring people to look deeper into themselves. I could go on forever I’m sure, but I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that as an artist I enjoy the search for truths, and that every production should bring artists and audiences alike closer to themselves and each other.

CTC: Have you performed for young audiences before? If not, how do you think it will be different or similar?

CB: Now that I think about it I have not performed for many primarily young audiences, but I have directed a couple children’s shows and have seen a few myself. When I’ve gone to children shows in the past, I’ve LOVED the responsiveness of the kids! They’re as loud as I want to be in the theatre! Performing for adult audiences in some places you’ll do a huge dance number and be dripping and huffing and puffing, your smile twitching from exhaustion, and you’ll get some polite applause, but you’ll know if there are theatre people or children in the audience because they will let you know how you did. That is the audience every cast wants, an audience that gives it back to you! The best thing about teaching kids is their lack of filter: you’re never wanting for stories or wondering how they feel about you, and that’s what makes them the best audience! I’m just afraid it’ll spoil me for regular adult audiences!

CTC: What are you most looking forward to?

CB: To tell the truth, I am eagerly looking forward to everything this year has in store! Minneapolis is a new city for me. I’ve heard such wonderful things about both CTC and Minneapolis and I am ready for an adventure! I’ve been told that I’ll being doing a lot of different things (including helping develop new works which I’ve always wanted to do) and I love to be busy and useful. And I’m of course super excited to meet and talk to all the children I’ll be working with!

John Jamison

CTC: What made you want to get involved in theatre?

John Jamison: Like most teenagers in middle school, it was pretty tough for me to make friends. I thought acting would be a good way to meet people. Project Success, an amazing program, provided me with many opportunities to express myself on the stage! I had the chance to sing, dance, and act with tons of support. I was hooked.

CTC: What has being involved in theatre taught you about yourself as a person and as an artist?

JJ: Being involved in theatre has showed me that I give my all in every performance. As an artist, it has taught me that the stage is a large and changing canvas and I am always excited about my next change.

CTC: Have you performed for young audiences before? If not, how do you think it will be different or similar?

JJ: I have performed for young audiences before. The difference is that I was young too. Now that I will be performing as an adult, I am hoping that it will help that everyone says that I am still a big kid at heart!

CTC: What are you most looking forward to?

JJ: Since I am not a trained actor, I am most excited to learn! It's such a great way to grow as a professional actor. I have already met some incredible people, some of the previous Performing Apprentices, directors of major theater productions, talented actors, etc. No matter how difficult it gets, I’ll be in a great, supportive environment. I can’t wait for this year with CTC!

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