Arts Institute for Creative Advancement - The Theatre Lab

Arts Institute for Creative Advancement

A new paid training program for people ages 18-24.

Seventeen of the largest arts education organizations in the city, led by The Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts, Life Pieces To Masterpieces, Sitar Arts Center, and the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, have teamed up to train young people who are disconnected from or under-engaged in school and work to enter DC’s creative economy.  Through an intensive education and apprenticeship program in technical theater, youth ages 18-24 will be prepared for careers as offstage theater professionals whose roles include lighting and audio engineering, set construction, scenic painting, rigging, and stage management. 

The Arts Institute for Creative Advancement (AICA), is an initiative of the DC Arts Education Alliance that engages youth ages 18-24 who are disconnected or disengaged from school and work and pays them to train for employment in technical fields of the arts. Classes begin January 2024.

Learn more about AICA.

Meet the AICA Program Director:
Natalie Pertz (she/her) is the Arts Institute for Creative Advancement Program Director. Most recently she was Head of Education at The Kreeger Museum between 2021-2023. Natalie holds a Master’s Degree in arts administration from Goucher College and a Bachelor of Arts in theatre and communication arts from Gannon University. In addition to her academic studies, Natalie has trained at The Eugene O’Neill National Theater Institute, Theatre of the Oppressed NYC, and The Globe Education Center in London, England. Following undergraduate graduation, Natalie spent the 2014-2015 season as an Education Apprentice at Hartford Stage, a Tony-award winning regional theatre in Hartford, Connecticut. As a teaching artist, Natalie has taught and supervised the implementation of STEAM curriculum with pre-school through aging adult students in multiple states and districts such as Erie, Syracuse, and Hartford. She returned to Hartford Stage in 2017 after working as a STEAM enrichment teacher in Syracuse, New York. Natalie remained at Hartford Stage full-time as Education Associate until Summer 2020. Outside of the hustle, Natalie is an ultramarathoner who loves pasta dinners, strong coffee, and conversation. Since 2021 she has resided in Washington, DC, with her partner, Conor, and their two cats (‘Memphis’ and ‘Reese’). 

We’re thrilled to be creating and implementing a curriculum in theater production that will be accessible to young adults who have faced obstacles in traditional learning environments,
Deb Gottesman, Co-Executive Director of The Theatre Lab
DC Arts Education Alliance

Read recent news coverage about the program.

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