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2019 Technical Apprentice group shot. Photo credit: Bob Godwin

The Santa Fe Opera Announces 78 Members of the 2019 Season Apprentice Program for Theater Technicians

Media Contact: Emily Doyle Moore | 505-986-5908 |


This Season’s Program is Comprised of Technicians, Designers and Craftspeople from Across New Mexico, the Wider United States, South America, England and China

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Santa Fe, NM —  The Santa Fe Opera is delighted to announce the members of its 2019 Season Apprentice Program for Theater Technicians. This season’s program is comprised of technicians, designers and craftspeople from across New Mexico, the wider United States, South America, England and China. The 78 individuals were selected from a pool of more than 900 applicants through a competitive screening and interview process by the Opera’s Production Department Heads. Santa Fe Opera Production and Recruiting Coordinator Tracy Armagost facilitates the program, which includes recruitment, hiring and programming for each season.

Established in 1965, the Apprentice Program for Theater Technicians has since provided intermediate and advanced instruction and practical experience to young technicians in all aspects of stage operations. Among the first of its kind in America, now more than 3,500 aspiring technicians have participated in the internationally recognized program. Former Technical Apprentices have gone on to careers as professional technicians and designers for both stage and film work; others work in production at opera, theater and ballet companies worldwide. Recently of note is former Technical Apprentice Ruth E. Carter, who made record books earlier this year as the first African American to win the Academy Award for Best Costume Design for her work on Black Panther. This season, former Technical Apprentice Shawna Lucey returns to direct The Pearl Fishers and former Technical Apprentice JAX Messenger will make his Santa Fe Opera debut as the Lighting Designer for Così fan tutte.

Each season, Technical Apprentices perform a variety of backstage functions within one of seven separate running crews: Audio/Visual, Costumes, Electrics, Production/Music Services, Properties, Scenery, and Wigs and Makeup. These crews carry out the majority of work on daily changeovers between the season’s five operas. Technical Apprentices also fill positions crucial to the live running of productions. In addition, this year’s apprentices will produce two fully-staged and costumed Apprentice Scenes on August 11 and 18, 2019, allowing them to showcase their work to the public. Each participant will also have the opportunity to work with the Opera’s production staff of experienced designers, master technicians and craftspeople from theaters, opera companies and universities across the globe. In some cases, production staff are themselves former Technical Apprentices who credit the program as instrumental to their professional advancement.


Serena Bunn, Cypress, Texas
Chun Kang Chen, Jualien, Taiwan*
Ana Belen Cobos, League City, Texas*
Naomi Beetlestone Detre, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Olivia Dilworth, Silver Spring, Maryland
Carolyn Doerr, Eagle River, Wisconsin
Maggie Drake, Rochester, New York
Mikeaela Fish, Terra Haute, Indiana
Blake James, Denton, Texas
Alexa Marron, Chandler, Arizona
Jacob Miller, Versailles, Kentucky
Sarah Moloney, Fort Wayne, Indiana
Olivia Pauline Murrow, Boulder, Colorado*
Darby Newsome, Northborough, Massachusetts
John Polles, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Maria Laura Sandoval, Lima, Peru
Hannah Schatzle, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Danielle Silfies, Breinigsville, Pennsylvania
Elizabeth Spilsbury, Silver Spring, Maryland*
Becca Updyke, Denver, Colorado
Elizabeth Verslues, Holts Summit, Missouri*
Annie Yonge, Fairhope, Alabama*


Will Elphingstone, Dallas, Texas

Christopher Ferranti, Edison, New Jersey
Hannah L. Mackey, Buffalo, New York
Megan Mahoney, Vista, California
Loren Marks, Brookfield, Wisconsin
Kelly Sandoval, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Jonah Schnell, St. Louis, Missouri*
Landry Strickland, Wylie, Texas

Electronic Libretto System

Ian Gilliam, Silver City, New Mexico

Production/Music Services

Briana Garcia, Clarksville, Tennessee
Jillian Stacer, Northville, Michigan
Collin Sterne, Boone, North Carolina
Tara Tolar-Payne, Thornton, Colorado


Tessa Broyles, Olathe, Kansas*
Kelly Edwards, Boise, Idaho*
Katie Gallegos, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Madeline Goddard, Montpelier, Vermont
Adam Hooper, Gainesville, Georgia*
Itzel Martinez, El Paso, Texas*
Bailie Molsberry, Santa Rosa, California
Caitlynn Sandoval, Tyler Texas
DJ Shabansky, Denver, Colorado
Paul Smith, Asheboro, North Carolina
Shasta Stewart, Callahan, California
Evan Streshinsky, Richmond, California
Jacob Sullivan, Snohomish, Washington*


Melia Boudreau, Collinsville, Connecticut
Robert Dooley, Indianapolis, Indiana
S. Layne Ely, Centennial, Colorado
Zachary Finch, Round Rock, Texas
Cole Frizzo, Glen Carbon, Illinois
Andy Glischinski, Shoreview, Minnesota
Savannah Gunton, Tucker, Georgia
Tyler Lang, Wichita, Kansas
Tamara Morris-Thompson, Derbyshire, England
Alivia G. Olson, Rapid City, South Dakota
Amanda Pusateri, Nile, Illinois
Ash Puskarich, Dallas, Texas
Úna Rafferty, Tenafly, New Jersey
B. Rafidi, Phoenix, Arizona
Payton Smith, New Orleans, Louisiana
Kevin Upham, Holland, Ohio
Brandon Wasem, Phoenix, Arizona
Dylan Weston, Johnson City, Tennessee

Scenic Art

Jacob Caire, El Paso, Texas*
Delia Revard, Bradenton, Florida*
Petra Stoppel, Petoskey, Michigan


Araceli Ramirez, El Dorado, Arkansas*
Melanie Montgomery, Farmington Hills, Michigan
Cameron Rhea, Carmel, Indiana

Stage Carpentry

Avery Hunt, Rockville, Maryland*
Natalie Kandra, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Wigs and Makeup

Emma Grace Gustafson, St. Paul, Minnesota*
Chloee Rae, Amherst, Ohio
Lily Komarow, Vienna, Virginia
Jessi Ann Rogers, Huntsville, Alabama

*Second-year Apprentice Technician

The mission of the Santa Fe Opera is to advance the operatic art form by presenting ensemble performances of the highest quality in a unique setting with a varied repertory of new, rarely performed, and standard works; to ensure the excellence of opera’s future through apprentice programs for singers, technicians, and arts administrators; and to foster an understanding and appreciation of opera among a diverse public.

Page Header Image: 2019 Technical Apprentices. Photo by Bob Godwin.