I am an apprentice… Patrick Pennefather

Last year’s Flying Monkey was the first time this newsmagazine went online, this time discussing mentorship in the arts. However, lost in the shuffle, it was not seen by many and some great insights went unnoticed. Over the next few days I will print the interviews that took place with a variety of talented theatre artists and hear what they had to say on the question of what the place is for mentorship in the arts…


FM: What is your experience with/opinions on mentorship?

PP: I have mentored students at both college and university level in all aspects of sound design and composition for live theatre. The more on the job training and internship/mentoring, the better the industry.

FM:What are the direct benefits of mentoring that you feel cannot be developed via other means?

PP: Dealing with realworld clients; how to get along with people, leave the ego out of the process. Determining if this is really what you want to do

FM:What are your views on formalized mentorship programs?

PP: All for it as long as the mentored can choose the mentoree. I think this is crucial. The mentored have to do their research too.

FM:What has been your experience with less formal, self-initiated individual mentorships?

PP: In my experience they are more successful. We’re talking about stakes though …It comes down to a mentoree’s desire to learn and the commitment to work their ass off.

FM:Are there limitations to mentorship?

PP: The biggest limitation is time, always.

FM:Advice to those seeking an apprenticeship?

PP: Connect the job you’re interested in to a real live person doing it

FM:Why are mentorships not more readily available?

PP: Time and money. Mentoring is not easy, and is really about teaching someone, imparting your knowledge onto them, and this takes time, effort and energy. The other hurdle is defining the terms of engagement of the mentorship

FM:Do you have any suggestions on how to instigate change in current apprenticeship availabilities?

PP: I think a formal contract between mentoree and mentor is a good idea.

PATRICK PENNEFATHER composes musical curiosities crafting them with climate control and conspicuous chordal centrifuge.