Atlas Stagecraft Training and Apprenticeship Program: A New Program to Help Increase Income

If you want to bring jobs, businesses and vitality to your neighborhood, invest in “the arts”. As part of our commitment to both the revitalization of the H Street Commercial Corridor and arts in the neighborhoods we were an early investor in the development of the Atlas Performing Arts Center at 1300 H Street, NE.

We provided technical assistance and grant dollars to build the day-to-day operating capacity of the theatre. Open since 2006, The Atlas Performing Arts Center has been a leading force behind the revitalization of the H Street NE Corridor. Over 20 new businesses have opened making H Street an entertainment destination throughout the region. Today, on H Street you can enjoy sushi and gourmet dining, “dangerously delicious pies”, organic coffees, and the full spectrum of the performing arts.

In 2010, the Atlas furthered its commitment to the community and local arts organizations by creating a Stagecraft Job Training and Apprenticeship Program. The nine-month program began in July 2010 and is training 15 unemployed or underemployed individuals in the technical theatre skills that are in demand and result in living wage employment. The skills – including carpentry, lighting, and sound and projection technology – will enable the trainees to find new employment opportunities in the performing arts and entertainment industry where there exists a critical need for skilled production staff. Outside university settings, no such comprehensive training course is available in the DC area.

To support this effort DC LISC provided a $25,000 grant. In addition, we decided to document the progress and outcomes of the program. Our intern worked with the Atlas team to document the goals, the classes and the apprentices’ progress. We produced a 7 minute audio-visual presentation highlighting the value and outcomes of such a program.

Still in the apprenticeship phase, all 15 remain in the program and are working at various theatre and stage companies in the region.