Shakespeare & Co. Reveals Center for Actor Training Schedule

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LENOX, Mass. – After two years of reduced programming, Shakespeare & Company’s Center for Actor Training has announced a full schedule of workshops and intensives for Fall 2022, including both in-person and online offerings. 

Beginning Friday, Sept. 2, The Center for Actor Training will offer several different workshops and intensives throughout the autumn months, designed for theater professionals from around the world. In-person sessions will be held at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass., and at various locations in New York, N.Y., Raleigh, N.C., and San Jose, Calif. A selection of online workshops is also planned. 

Director of Training Sheila Bandyopadhyay said The Center for Actor Training is currently poised to enter “an exciting and innovative era,” building on its suite of time-tested programming, while expanding access to a greater number of theater professionals.

"As artists look at the offerings this fall, they will notice several specialized workshops that center on identity, ancestry, and empowerment," she explained. "And while I am acutely aware of the challenges the last few years have presented to all of us, and specifically our community of actors, I see this as an opportunity to refocus, deepen and create."

The Center for Actor Training’s Fall 2022 In-person Workshops include:

Sept. 2 to 4:

Women of Will: Following the Feminine in Shakespeare's Plays, Lenox, Mass. 

Inspired by Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer’s work researching and performing her original script Women of Will, this acting workshop explores Shakespeare’s relationship to gender by focusing on Shakespeare's women characters. Led by Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer (she/her), Kimberly White (she/her), and Sarah Kate Anderson (she/they).

Sept. 30 to Oct. 2:

Voice & Movement: Language in Action on the Stage, Lenox, Mass.

Bringing together voice, expressive movement, and text, this workshop will explore physical/vocal language, somatic imagination, and the impact of Shakespeare's words on the body and voice. This workshop explores the expressivity of the body and voice, and how Shakespeare’s language and imagery ignite vitality and delight for the performer. Participants will learn how to use Shakespeare's text to communicate physically and vocally in a process of creating authentic expression and dynamic presence in the performance space. Led by faculty member Ariel Bock (she/her) and Director of Training Sheila Bandyopadhyay (she/her).

Nov. 11 to 13:

Clowning for Actors, New York, N.Y.

This is a workshop in Clowning, an exploration of the Red Nose, Play, Complicity, and how each of these is vital to the actor’s training. Throughout history, the Clown has played a vital role in our communities. Cross-culturally, the Clown has been looked to in order to reveal what is most human about us all and asks us to laugh about it. In these three days, actors will explore what is most human about themselves – revealing it, and celebrating it publicly. Led by faculty member Michael F. Toomey (he/him).

Fall 2022 Online Workshops will be held via Zoom, and include:

Sept. 12 and 19 

Shaking Free Our Inner Ancestral Tree: Working with Shakespeare's Text

This workshop invites participants who are alumni of at least one other Shakespeare & Company Voice, Text, and/or Movement workshop. As we work to personalize Shakespeare's text, deepen our connection to character and verse, and breathe ourselves into fully embodying the language, what might we discover when we openly invite our ancestors along for the journey? Building upon the Shakespeare & Company Center for Actor Training’s foundational Linklater approach to freeing the natural voice, this workshop asks us to consider, “When you open your mouth, is yours the only voice you hear?” ”What ancestors are you carrying within you, consciously or unknowingly?” “What ancestral syntax (buried accent? erased last name? historically “othered” soul?) sings just beneath your skin?” Might an inner ancestral tongue be a key to unlocking Shakespeare within us? What ancient story is seeking its way through you? Led by instructor Nehassaiu deGannes (she/her).

Oct. 3, 10, 17, and 24 

Linklater Voice and the Power of Imagery

This workshop will dive into Linklater voice work designed to "free the natural voice.” To free the voice is to “tune into the person behind the voice” and to “free the person.” (Kristin Linklater) We will also focus on individual identity which may include heritage, culture, and personal stories to connect to the text. Participants release tension in the body, free vibrations by releasing their jaw and tongue, and develop the range, power, and subtlety of the voice for the stage. We may explore Shakespeare sonnets, monologues, or other heightened text participants are interested in and play with resonance and use breath as a way to experience the richness of the imagery in the language. There will be group warm-ups as well as an individual one that can be used for auditions, before a show, or other speaking engagements. All levels of experience will be met. Led by faculty member Marie Ramirez Downing (she/her).

Nov. 2, 9, 16, and 30

Movement: Presence, Power and Freedom, Lenox, Mass. 

“Get out of your head!” is a phrase most actors have heard in some context at one time or another. But how, exactly, does one do this? There are many tricks and tools, but for acting Shakespeare, we want not to get out of our heads, but rather, get into our bodies, and integrate our intellect skillfully. Additionally, we all deal with societal constructs, conscious, and unconscious beliefs about our physical bodies that can get in the way of empowered expression and a fully realized presence in our performance work. Combining a variety of Eastern and Western somatic practices including Pure Movement (Swings), the Alexander Technique, yogic philosophy, and mindful awareness of self, students will have an opportunity to strengthen their connections to body and being, to facilitate greater freedom of expression. All levels are welcome; led by Director of Training Sheila Bandyopadhyay (she/her).

Fall 2022 Weekend Intensives will be held in San Jose, Calif.; Raleigh, N.C.; Lenox, Mass., and New York, N.Y.

Designed to meet the needs of professional actors and theater students who seek an introduction to Shakespeare & Company's training methods, as well as alumni who wish to refresh and reconnect with the work, the Weekend Intensive program integrates voice, movement, and monologue work. Friday through Sunday, participants explore ways to unlock the emotional and intellectual content inherent in Shakespeare's language, yielding a direct relationship between actor and text. Intensives typically begin with an introduction to Shakespeare & Company’s aesthetic, moving on to focus on the actor’s individual voice and experiences, which are incorporated into a monologue that the actor has prepared for the class. The final day moves more vigorously through the voice and bodywork, with the actors reconnecting with Shakespeare’s text, revisiting their monologues, and exploring how the structure of the verse might influence character and performance. 2022 sessions include: 

  • San Jose, Calif., September 30 to October 2

  • Lenox, Mass., October 21 to 23

  •  Raleigh, N.C., November 11 to 13
  • New York, N.Y., December 2 to 4

For more information about Shakespeare & Company’s Center for Actor Training and its upcoming sessions, visit shakespeare.org, or call 413.637.1199, ext. 114.


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