Orlando | Staff Spotlight | Alumni Spotlight | Alumni Event
Dear alumni, friends, and fellow theatre lovers,

We begin the New Year with excitement and hopefulness, as our first production of 2018 is being directed by Caraline Jeffrey, ’17, the Department of Theatre Apprentice. For nearly 20 years, the apprentice program has offered hands-on experiences to a select group of individuals to prepare for continued study or a career in the arts. Apprentices receive mentoring and support from department faculty and staff, an assignment of responsibility within our production program, and career assistance within a familiar, structured environment. Caraline is directing Sarah Ruhl’s Orlando, under the mentorship of Professor Pam Pepper.

Orlando, A Biography, written by Virginia Woolf and published in 1928, was adapted for the stage by Robert Wilson in 1989, and in a film version starring Twilda Swinton in 1992. Ruhl’s play, with its ensemble cast and fluid sense of time, captures the experimental nature and feminist perspective of the original with poetic wit. The play fits our season theme of Translations and Adaptations by asserting that human beings craft identity to fit the cultural and historical context in which they find themselves. If self, community, and culture are conditioned practices, then opportunities for transformation and integration abound, and that is truly a freeing prospect.

Let's meet in the lobby!
Erica Hoelscher
Chair and Professor of Theatre
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As a first-year student at Lehigh I knew that I wanted to be involved in theatre. A part-time work-study job expanded into involvement in productions, which lead to taking classes, and by the end of my first year I declared a theatre major. I graduated with a BA in just three years, and I am grateful to stay on for an additional year as an apprentice.
I love every aspect of theatre, and because of that my apprenticeship is multi-faceted. I am studying production management, working on community outreach initiatives, and, primarily, directing the upcoming production in Diamond Theater, Orlando. I learn something new every day as an apprentice, which was exactly what I hoped to get out of the position. I don’t know where exactly my theatre career will take me after this, but I know that my experiences this year will have a lasting impact.
Orlando resonates as a narrative about gender, sexuality, and identity that is not heard often enough and needs to be told. This play certainly speaks to the LGBTQ experience, but beyond that, everyone can relate to Orlando’s struggle to activate core aspects of the self. The play asks actors and audience to question, and ultimately cast aside, categories of male, female, straight, gay, etc., and instead to focus on what we love and find beautiful in the world, and to empathize with and support others who are trying to do the same. If ever we have needed a reminder to focus on love, beauty, and empathy in the world, it is now.
To donate to the Apprentice Program click here
Colin McGurk '06
Theatre Major, apprentice in set design

While at Lehigh University, I designed sets for Woyzeck, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, designed lights for one act plays in the black box, and served as props director, master electrician, carpenter, and painter. During my apprenticeship, I designed the set for Inherit the Wind, and received the mentoring necessary to be accepted to graduate school. I received an MFA in scenic design from UC San Diego in 2011. Since then I’ve worked in NYC with Alexander Dodge as Associate Designer and Studio Manager. I supervised two Broadway productions (A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder and Anastasia) as well as the corresponding national tours. I supervised over fifty projects, including Off Broadway, Regional Theatre, Opera and specialty projects. In addition, I’ve pursued my freelance design career Off Broadway, and regionally at Hartford Stage and LA Opera.

Enjoy reading more about Colin at
Sean Doyle '00 
Theatre Major, apprentice in lighting and technical direction

I was a Lighting and Technical Direction Apprentice, one of three in 2001. I designed lighting for a production called Flyin’ West, however, I was offered a position with a professional theatre company and left the apprenticeship after one semester. I am currently the Lighting and Sound Supervisor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. In my professional career, I attempt to recreate the relationship of mutual trust and respect that I learned being a part of production teams at Lehigh University. At UAB, I mentor 3-5 students in lighting and sound. Their successes and motivation to continue in theatre is my greatest accomplishment, and something I learned as an apprentice.
Kait Witte '01
Art Major, apprentice in costume design and construction

The objective of my apprenticeship was to design costumes for a musical called Runaways, and to prepare for the challenges of a career in the creative industry. I am the Marketing Director for Michael Miller Fabrics, a textile company based in NYC with distribution around the world. I manage three international trade show booths, a process that is very much like a theatrical production. In 2011, I became a published author when I wrote Thread and Bobbin: 21 Simple Sewing Projects for All American Crafts. I attribute my career accomplishments, in part, to the technical skills and determination I learned as an apprentice.

Keep up with Kait at
Lee Kristine Martin '04 
Theatre Major, apprentice in costume design

I wanted greater immersion within the theatre department and to focus beyond the major’s core curriculum. My year as an apprentice was a stepping stone to my career path. I attended the Savanah College of Art and Design and am now a Technical Designer for Men’s Outerwear at Land’s End. I use the skills I learned as an apprentice on a daily basis: being resourceful, diligent, inquisitive, and collaborative has given me an advantage in the apparel industry.
Jessica Barksdale '11, Vassar College 
English Major, apprentice in costume design and construction

I was a professional costume design assistant for Professor Hoelscher prior to applying to Lehigh's Apprentice Program. As part of my apprenticeship, I designed costumes for a production of Every Tongue Confess, by Marcus Gardley. Another goal I had for my apprenticeship was to prepare for and gain admittance into a graduate program. I now attend the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music as a costume technology graduate student. The apprentice program provided me with the confidence and experience necessary to overcome challenges that I've faced at graduate school.

Keep up with Jessica at

Department of Theatre | Zoellner Arts Center, Room 301 | 420 East Packer Avenue
Bethlehem, PA 18015 | Phone: 610-758-3640 | Fax: 610-758-6543

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