Photography by Leaetta Mitchell

Backstage Theatre: Classes & Apprenticeships

Set Builder Apprenticeship

Teacher: Gary Loddo
Ages: 13 - 19
School Year
Various times


Have you ever wondered how a spectacular set comes together for a theatre production Are you creative, hard working and like a challenge, but would rather be back stage than on stage The BEAT Children's Theatre Set Builder Apprenticeship might just be the experience for you! Come work with BEAT's set builder, Gary Loddo, our set painters and volunteers to help design and build a full set for a BEAT production, as well as working back stage as part of the set crew. Admittance to the program is by Application and Interview, and spaces are limited. Register online to begin the application process and contact Angie Neumaier ( to inquire about the next step.

The BEAT Children's Theatre Set Builder Apprenticeship program was created to encourage young people who have a passion for the theatre arts, but no desire to perform on stage. This program will offer students the opportunity to explore their own creativity and increase their skills and knowledge as they help create the world in which stories take place on stage.

Through scenic design, collaboration with the directing team and scenic crew, scenic painting, working with volunteers and taking on the responsibility of working as stage crew and maintaining the set during the run of a show, our Set Building Apprentices will learn all about theatre production from behind the well as discovering their own capabilities. These students will learn hands-on skills that will open doors for them in other work environments.

The Set Builder Apprenticeship program is intended to be for students who are willing to commit to a program and work hard. The entrance to the program will be through an application and brief interview process to help determine that the student and the program are the right fit. Each student will sign on for an entire production.

Spaces are limited to ensure the quality of one-on-one training and hands-on opportunities. (2-3 students for a smaller mainstage production, 3-4 students for a larger mainstage production)

The Set Builder Apprentice is expected to commit to the following:

  • Attend initial set planning discussion(s) with Director, Set Builder/Designer, Production Coordinator (2-3 hours)
  • Attend a minimum of 3-4 rehearsals to observe blocking and set change needs and to visit with Director (6-8 hours)
  • Attend a minimum of 3 build/paint days with Set Builders / Painters to receive training in, and assist with construction and painting (15-20 hours)
  • Attend all performances from Call Time through Clean Up and participate as part of Set Crew where necessary, as well as maintenance of set (ie. work with Set Builder to evaluate if set pieces require repair after each performance) (28-35 hours = 8-10 performances)
  • Participate in Load-In and Load-Out (moving set to and from the BEAT studio and performance venue) (12-15 hours)
  • Follow-up interview at the end of the program

Requirements for participation in the Set Apprentice program:

  • Applicant must be between the ages of 13-19
  • Some familiarity with tools is great, but not required (instruction in use of tools will be provided)
  • Applicant must be able to make the above listed commitments
  • An enthusiasm for stage craft
  • A solid work ethic and commitment to safety and security
  • Applicant parent / guardian must also sign program commitment agreement and waiver

BEAT Children's Theatre will provide:

  • Adult oversight and instruction in Set Design, Set Building and Set Painting
  • All necessary tools and other materials***
  • All necessary safety equipment and safety instruction

Tuition for the Set Builder Apprentice program: $250

Acceptance into the Apprentice program runs the full length of a production. Students may reapply for subsequent productions and will be considered if they met all of the commitments of the prior program.

*** Students under the age of 18 will not be allowed to use power tools without express permission of parent(s) / guardian(s). Tool instruction will include measuring devices, hammers, screwdrivers, levels, t-squares, pliers, manual staple gun, painting tools, etc. Instruction will also include some work with design-based computer software, hand sketching / design and model making. Parent(s) / Guardian(s) may opt to allow instruction in power drills and palm sanders. BEAT will not allow students to use other power tools as a part of the program.


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