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Penfold Theatre Launches Leadership Apprentice Program

Texas State University theatre student Kylie Gutierrez has been selected as the program’s first participant.

AUSTIN: Penfold Theatre Company has launched a new apprenticeship program in partnership with Texas State University’s Department of Theatre and Dance. Its goal is to provide students who are interested in arts leadership with the experience and skills training that will help them establish a career in professional theatre. Kylie Gutierrez, a senior theatre performance and production major at Texas State, has been selected as Penfold’s first arts leadership apprentice for the spring 2022 semester.

Kylie Gutierrez.

For her apprenticeship, Gutierrez is serving as an assistant to Penfold producing artistic director Ryan Crowder for the duration of this college semester, providing support to the organization while receiving hands-on training and experience in Penfold’s art, marketing, development, and executive functions. Assigned duties will help the program’s apprentices gain insight into an arts administrator’s role and explore the scope of running a theatre arts nonprofit.

“During Penfold’s recent strategic planning process, we found there are not many opportunities for young adults transitioning from college to their early professional careers, particularly in the area of arts leadership,” said Crowder in a statement. “With the support of faculty and staff, we are piloting an apprentice program this spring semester with Texas State University. We are tremendously excited to have Kylie as our first apprentice. Her initiative and perspective impressed us immediately, and now, just days into the apprenticeship, her passion, intelligence, and collaborative spirit have already proved a great asset to the team. She’s just the type of emerging artist we’d hoped to serve with this program. Upon the program’s success, we hope to increase the number and variety of apprenticeships offered.”

Added Texas State University’s head of BFA performance and production, Natalie Blackman, in a statement: “Penfold’s apprenticeship is all about doing! In addition to already participating in budget planning and working with the art department, Kylie Gutierrez had the opportunity to lead the season selection discussion on new play development and will be coordinating all the readings for Penfold’s commissioned new works. I know she will leave this apprenticeship with the resume and skill set to land a job at an incredible theatre company or to create her own.”

Gutierrez’s TSU theatre credits include: Red Bike (assistant director), Fefu and Her Friends (director), Grapes and Gnats (producer/playwright), El Nogalar (dramaturg), Pa Fuera Pa Fuera Pa Fuera (assistant director), Bikes (playwright), and Crescendo (director). She is the managing producer and a founder of the Jeremy Torres Lab Theatre, a producing house on the Texas State University campus dedicated to undergraduate work.

Penfold Theatre Company has served the north Austin metro area for 14 years by telling intimate stories of hope and empathy. The company is reemerging from the pandemic with a season focused on reimagining classics, as well as new initiatives including a five-year New Play Commission Series, a new Great Plays in Great Places Series, and this apprentice program.

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