Pursuing Opportunity: Perseverance Theatre Apprenticeships

Rio AlbertoBlog, Featured

Interview With The Artist

Internships are a valuable way to learn if a future career in theatre are a good fit for you. If you enjoyed theater in high school or are simply interested in exploring working as a theater professional, Perseverance Theatre has opportunities for you. 

Every year, Perseverance Theatre invites early-career professionals to join us for a season-long apprenticeship. Located on Tlingit Aani in Juneau, AK, these apprentices get practical, on-the-job experience producing professional theatre on the Perseverance Mainstage. Apprentices will work with Artistic Director Leslie Ishii, Managing Director Frank Delaney, Associate Producer Joseph Biaginni, and Marketing and Engagement Director Rio Alberto to complete a variety of tasks based on the specific needs of our Mainstage productions. 

These apprenticeships are fast-paced, multi-disciplinary, cross-departmental, and grounded in community offerings. Perseverance Theatre is guided by the values of Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Access (JEDIA). This apprenticeship is unlike other regional theatre experiences. By taking a holistic approach to learning and being involved as part of our team, Perseverance supports apprentices to become active leaders and members of our artistic community. 

As a part of that commitment, Perseverance manages an apprenticeship program that begins in August 2023 and goes through April 2024. This includes a $200 weekly stipend, housing, travel, and local transportation are provided. Perseverance Theatre recognizes there are very real social and economic barriers to accessing higher education. We are committed to an equitable application process, and encourage all to apply, regardless of level of experience or education. 


Perseverance Theatre is Alaska’s largest professional theatre committed to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive community of staff, apprentices, and individuals. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Leslie Ishii and Managing Director Frank Delaney, Perseverance produces musical, contemporary, and world premiere productions in Juneau and Anchorage. Founded in 1979 by Molly Smith and the community of Douglas and Juneau, Perseverance Theatre has grown to become a nationally-recognized institution that produces new works and uplifting Alaskan voices.

Interview with 2021-2022 Artistic Fellow Irene Martinko

Rio Alberto sat down with Artistic Fellow Irene Martinko before her departure to the Olney Theatre Center. Irene Martinko is a dramaturg, writer, producer, and performer currently working as Olney Theatre Center’s Casting and Producing Fellow. Originally from Springfield, VA, she graduated from Muhlenberg College in 2018 with a major in Theatre and minors in Music and Women and Gender Studies. From New York to Alaska, Irene has worked for regional theatres across the country including Perseverance Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, and the Adirondack Theatre Festival. Perseverance credits include: With (Assistant Director and Dramaturg), Silent Sky (Margaret), and Voyager One (Dramaturg). She also served as a Staff Writer with Onstage Blog for which she wrote opinion pieces, theatre news updates, and artist profiles, and her children’s chapter books can be found on Amazon. Irene is most passionate about new play development and is a member of the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas and Ring of Keys.

Rio: How did you come about this artistic internship and Perseverance?

Irene: I graduated with a degree in directing, and that was in 2018. I knew that I wanted to go into an internship. There are a lot of different ways to start working in theater, but to me, internships felt like a stable way of getting into theater.

Where you can learn and grow without the pressure of being thrown headfirst into something, where you’re allowed to grow and learn. I was looking for different opportunities and at that point in my life, I was willing to work anywhere, I will live anywhere, and I’m so excited to travel. Where can I go? For the first time around, I started working for the Florida Studio Theater. I really loved it.

At that point in my life, I wanted something completely different. What’s completely different from Florida, is Alaska. I found this internship and was very interested in the idea of spending time in Alaska, I was very interested in the work that they were doing. I had this mindset that I wanted an adventure, to me, that felt like an adventure.

I applied, but I didn’t expect anything and wasn’t sure what my next steps were. When I got the position, I thought someone would fly me to Alaska so I could go do theater. The rest is history.

Rio: Where did you do your undergraduate?

Irene: Muhlenberg College in Pennsylvania.

Rio: What was your favorite experience at Perseverance Theatre?

Irene: There were so many great experiences at PT! I enjoyed being in Silent Sky, that was very fun for me. I hadn’t acted in a long time. I loved the story, the cast, and I loved the design. There were so many things about that that were very exciting. I feel like I learned a lot from that process. Throughout the last three years one of the things I loved about PT is I’ve been able to work in different departments and do so many different things. The things that have excited me about each project is different. They all have their own victories.

Rio: If you were to return to PT again, what kind of projects would interest you?

Irene: It would depend on specific names. There are so many amazing playwrights and writers in Alaska. To be able to support those playwrights. I think we have so much writing talent in the state and PT is in a position to support them and nurture that. I would be excited to see those new plays.

Rio: Any thoughts on the most surprising thing about doing theater in Alaska?

Irene: I’m from the lower-48 and I had this idea of Alaska in my head. It’s not the same as when I first arrived. I am so glad I was able to learn what it’s like to live in Juneau. There is so much I’ve learned about the Native culture, and the way that theater functions. It was a surprise to me that there was a theater here at all. Maybe that sounds bad because there is theater everywhere. I think that all of us who work at PT get that, when we talk to people in the lower-48, and they are surprised we have theaters in Alaska.

An internship with Perseverance Theatre is so much more than just working for a theatre. It is about transforming the field at a national level while engaging deeply with our neighbors at a community level. 

How to Apply

Perseverance Theatre is seeking a Production and Stage Management Apprentice for our 2023/2024 Season! 

Perseverance fosters an organizational culture led by our values of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. To apply, please submit a cover letter and a resume (including three references) to joseph@ptalaska.org with the subject line “2023/24 Production/Stage Management Apprenticeship.” Applications are due by May 1, 2023.

If you have any questions, please email joseph@ptalaska.org