A Farewell from the 2017–18 Season Fellows

By Taylor Steinbeck

Today, the curtain is closing on the 2017–18 season fellowships, giving way to new and exciting journeys to come. For over eleven months, these young theater-makers have played an integral role at A.C.T., taking on tasks that range from evaluating script submissions to organizing donor events to designing mainstage show art. We reached out to a few of the fellows before they departed for their next adventures to find out what the A.C.T. Fellowship Program means to them.

(L to R) Some of the 2017–18 fellows at the opening night of the A.C.T. Fellowship Project 2018:
Nora Zahn, Bree Willard, Nailah Harper-Malveaux, Miranda Ashland, Taylor Steinbeck, Olga Korolev, Ilyssa Ernsteen
(Bottom, L to R) Spencer Jorgensen, Rachel Stuart. Photo by José Parra.
Rachel Stuart (Development Fellow): I couldn’t have asked for a better team to spend this past year with! I was able to get a firsthand look into what it takes to fund a large theater company. My team’s support, knowledge, and guidance has encouraged me to continue my career path as a development professional in the arts.

Bree Willard (Graphic Design Fellow): My experience as a fellow has not only been great for career building—I made most of the work in my portfolio during my time here—but also for the connections I’ve formed, both professional and personal, with my fellow fellows and others theater artists.

Spencer Jorgensen (Production Fellow): My favorite memories as the PM Fellow at A.C.T. are all centered around my fellow production teammates. There has never been a dull moment and I could always count on someone to bring snacks during tech rehearsals.

Ilyssa Ernsteen (Conservatory Fellow): I really loved the people I met at A.C.T. My supervisor Dan [Kolodny, Manager of Conservatory Operations and Professional Development Training] has been an invaluable mentor and I’m going to miss working with him! A.C.T. launched my career into the professional world and has set a high standard for me going forward.

Tessanella DeFrisco (Costume Fellow): Throughout this fellowship, I had the good fortune of working with some of the most skilled individuals in my profession. From day one they created an environment where mistakes were encouraged because of the learning opportunities they presented. Many people can study to become an expert in their field. However, very few experts can meet every challenge with the drive and humor that the Costume Shop artists do. Hopefully I have the pleasure of working with all of them in the future.


On behalf of the 2017–18 Season Fellows, thank you to A.C.T.’s staff for this gifting us with this fulfilling and formative experience!

Interested in becoming a part of this community? A.C.T. is still looking for a Conservatory Fellow, Graphic Design Fellow, and Development Fellow, among other fellowships, for the 2018–19 season. Click here to learn how to apply.

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