Design Apprenticeship Program 2023

Stage West’s Design Apprenticeship Program is a pre-professional training program for college students in the areas of Scenic, Sound, and Costume Design. Participants will work with a mentor in their respective design areas to create work for a professional portfolio, while also having a hands-on learning experience during onstage programming.

Program Description: The Design Apprenticeship Program was launched in 2022 with the goal to give theatre-makers of tomorrow the vital skills needed to succeed in a professional theatre setting, while also opening doors for college-aged students to have future job opportunities in their area of interest. For the foreseeable future, the program will be centered around diversity, equity, and inclusion - with a strong emphasis on recruiting women, students of color, and the LGBTQ community.

Stage West will seek 3 students in each area of study (for a total of 9) who will be paired with 1 mentor (per 3 students) as they actively engage in the rehearsal and performance process. This year's participating shows are Handle With Care, The Play That Goes Wrong, and Cruel Intentions: The 90's Musical. The students chosen for this program will have the opportunity to collaborate with Stage West on the Festival of the Kid and the Summer Conservatory programs. 





December 15th 2022: Application deadline for COSTUME and SOUND Apprentices

SCENIC December 2022 - Feburary 2023: Participate in workshops and design process for various plays.

COSTUMES January 2023 - March 2023: Participate in design and rehearsal process for The Play That Goes Wrong with Aaron Patrick DeClerk.

SOUND March 2023 - May 2023: Participate in design and rehearsal process for Cruel Intentions: The 90's Musical with David Lanza.

May 2023: Final Presentations and Graduation.

The 9 Design Students will:

  • Obtain real-world experience in a creative and safe atmosphere

  • Engage in a parallel design process for the participating show 

  • Work one-on-one with a mentor who will guide them through their respective design projects

  • Build professional relationships 

  • Get complimentary tickets to Stage West programming 

  • Receive a modest stipend for materials and supplies 

  • Gain rehearsal and performance hours with their College/University (if applicable) 

  • Participate in a review of the design projects they produce with Stage West staff members

The 3 Mentors chosen for the program will: 

  • Act as a liaison between the students and the participating production 
  • Lead the design project review process in collaboration with Stage West staff 
  • Have a Bachelors and/or Masters Degree in their area of study along with a seasoned professional resume 
  • Meet regularly with their mentees to give project assignments, check-in, and review work
  • Have a strong existing background and working relationship with Stage West 


Clare Floyd DeVries (Architect, Theater Set Designer, Scenic Design Mentor)

Clare has designed two hundred and fifty professional regional and civic stage productions, mostly in the DFW area, but also on the west coast, the east coast (Off-Broadway), in Oklahoma City (central coast?), and in Prague (with no coast).  Plus a critically praised Indie film and an obscure TV game show.     

As Clare taught herself how to design for the stage, she took lots of notes... which became her how-to set design book, Alice Through the Proscenium.  She has often spoken and written on aspects of theater and production design: at high schools and colleges, including the MFA scenic design program of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville; at the Dallas Museum of Art/Dallas Film Society; at kids’ summer theater camps; on her blog; or in Stage Directions magazine.  She has been interviewed frequently, including for the NPR series “American Stages”  and for a KERA Art + Seek artist profile.  And Clare mentored the set design segment of Stage West’s Apprenticeship Program in spring 2022.

David Lanza (Sound Designer, Sound Design Mentor)

David is a freelance audio engineer and sound designer based in Fort Worth TX.  In addition to working as resident sound designer for Amphibian Stage and Kids Who Care, David has worked with various organizations including Jubilee Theatre, Stage West, Dallas Theater Center, Booker T Washington HSPVA, All Saints Episcopal School, Keller High School, The Littlest Wiseman, Shiny Box Productions, Watertower Theatre, Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts, UNT Theatre, TCC Theatre, and TCU Theatre.  David has also acted as production sound operator for national tours of Menopause The Musical, A Tuna Christmas and Tuna Does Vegas, as well as the annual Dance Salad dance festival in Houston, TX.  Additionally, David has sound-designed and mixed animated media projects produced for and by companies including Nickelodeon, Alfalfa Studios, Kate Spade, and The Ford Foundation. David holds a Bachelor of Science in Audio Engineering Technology from Belmont University.

Aaron Patrick DeClerk (Costume Designer, Costume Design Mentor)

Aaron holds an M.F.A. from the University of Oklahoma, a B.F.A. from Northeastern State University, and Associates in Fine Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design. He has designed over 180 productions and garnered critical praise and numerous awards for his work. He was named Best Costume Designer in the Dallas Observers’100 Most Influential People of Dallas in 2010 and named an Artistic Associate for Trinity Shakespeare Festival in 2014.  Highlights include: Richard III, King Lear, The Tempest, Julius Caesar, The Taming of the Shrew, MacBeth, Much Ado About Nothing, Twelfth Night (Trinity Shakespeare Festival) [all winning the DFW Theatre Critic’s Forum Award], The Lion, The With, and The Wardrobe, Matilda, The Little Mermaid, A Christmas Carol (Northern Stage), Dial M for Murder, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels [NH Theater Awards Nomination](The New London Barn Playhouse), Death Is No Small Change, Death On Arrival, A Critical Case of Murder [Column Award 2007](Pegasus Theatre), House at Pooh Corner (Alabama Shakespeare Festival), The Misanthrope [Make-up Design](Dallas Theatre Center), Crucifer of Blood [DFW Theatre Critic’s Forum Award] (Theater Three), Right Ho, Jeeves (Contemporary Theater of Dallas)[DFW Theatre Critic’s Forum Award], Little Shop of Horrors [Column Award 2011] (Water Tower Theater), The Boxer [Column Nomination 2007, Official Entry International NYC Fringe Festival 2009](Bootstraps Comedy Theatre), Below The Belt, Every Child, King Liz (Amphibian Stage Productions), The Giver, The Never Ending Story [DFW Theatre Critic’s Forum Award], Sleeping Beauty [Leon Rabin Award] (Dallas Children’s Theatre), Every Trick in the Book [DFW Theatre Critic’s Forum Award] (Classical Acting Company), Real Estate (Santa Fe Playhouse), My Fair Lady, Next to NormalAugust: Osage County [Regional Premier] (City Rep), The Rocky Horror Show (Delaware Playhouse).



College students currently enrolled in a DFW area Community College or University should apply using the big link at the top of this page. Contact education [at] with any questions.