A Day in the Life of a CATCO Apprentice

As part of our dedication to transform lives through the power of theatre, CATCO offers acting and technical apprenticeships to recent college graduates which are funded by generous individual and corporate donations. This year, five wonderfully talented individuals have stepped into our apprenticeship program to spread their wings and create meaningful art together. They volunteered to share their thoughts on what it's like to be a CATCO Apprentice:


Matthew Sierra (Artist Education) of Fostoria, Ohio studied musical theatre at Bowling Green State University before moving to Columbus seeking acting opportunities. His interest in acting used as a mechanism for social justice fits right in with CATCO's outreach initiatives. He has appeared as Alfred Douglas in Gross Indecency and Mr. Locks in Goldilocks.

Janin Rosas (Costumes & Wardrobe) of Ft. Lauderdale, FL studied theatre arts at the University of Michigan with a concentration in costumes. Since taking on her role at CATCO, she has been working to fill her personal portfolio while making our characters come to life. You may have seen her work in Gross Indecency or A Seussified Christmas Carol.

Ben Tracy (Artist Education) of Minneapolis, MN studied acting at Wright State University with the long-term goal of performing in New York City. In CATCO he found a perfect stepping stone, as the education portion of the apprenticeship caters to his interest in children's theatre. You may recognize him from various roles in Baskerville and Gross Indecency.

Abby Worden (Artist Education) of Cincinnati, OH studied theatre and public relations at Capital University, where she discovered an interest in stage management. As part of her CATCO apprenticeship, she pursues this interest in backstage work along with displaying her talent on the stage. She is currently performing multiple roles in the cast of Baskerville.

Nick Murphy (Lighting & Sound) of Clinton, New York studied politics at Wesleyan University, but spent much of his time on technical work in the theatre. Though his interest in protecting the environment may lead him in other directions in the future, right now he makes our stages shine. He has run lights or sound for every Riffe Center show since An Act of God.

A Day in the Life

Life as a CATCO apprentice is essentially divided into two parts: running a show, and the time in between. Between shows, the Artist Educators work on monologues, help each other practice, and serve in our education programs. Janin performs alterations, creates patterns, and helps with costume fittings, and Nick helps with repairs and maintenance to keep the studios ready for use both for theatrical purposes and events. Leading up to and during shows, each apprentice performs their own duties to help the production run smoothly, some of them in the cast, and others backstage. They may oversee quick costume changes, hang lights and speakers, program cues, manage props, or run lines with one another.

The Meaning of Theatre

When asked about the deeper meaning of theatre, the apprentices gave mindful and heartfelt responses. Here are a few...The goal of working backstage is to make sure the audience only sees the "rabbit coming out of the hat." It takes a community to build a show and ensure everyone experiences the magic. An actor gets to live as many lives as their imagination can handle. We bring people to understand different perspectives, and help them view human nature from all angles. What things look like from the outside translates to life in general. Our job is to make people say "I get that. I dealt with that."

Message to our Donors

Thank you for all you do! CATCO presents a great learning environment. Having funded full time apprenticeships is rare, and the experience is supremely valuable. In a country where arts are leaving schools, it's incredible to see people who give to the arts. CATCO has its heart in the right place, and nothing we do isn't worth supporting because we give back.