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Shakespeare & Company

Actors Get Month-Long Intensive Training

Shakespeare & Company logoShakespeare & Company’s Center for Actor Training is now accepting applications for its Month-Long Intensive workshop running Dec. 29–Jan. 24. The Lennox, Mass., theater's Actor Training program provides actors the opportunity to immerse themselves in Shakespeare for four weeks while absorbing the power and aesthetic of the Company.

The Month-Long Intensive, led by Director of Training Dennis Krausnick, is a condensed acting program that seeks to challenge and illuminate actors from all over the world. Actors train their voices and bodies with a regimen of demanding classes and delve deeply into their imaginations, intellects, and emotional lives to bring the whole of the actor’s being into the moment of theater.

“Our signature training program, now in its 38th year, is a four-week immersion course where artists train six days a week sometimes 14 hours a days, providing the actor a transformational experience in Shakespeare performance unequaled anywhere in the world,” Krausnick said in a press release. “Actors from England, Ireland, and a large number of European and South American countries have trained in this program. The Company’s world-renowned faculty have geared the training to the working actor, who has had previous acting training and who wishes to deepen his or her experience of Shakespeare performance.”

The Intensive weaves together a cohesive immersion of text analysis, movement, Elizabethan dance, Alexander technique, Linklater voice work, stage combat, exploration of the actor-audience relationship, sonnet study, scene work, and in-depth discussions about the function of theater in today’s world.

“The methods taught in the Month-Long Intensive are unique to Shakespeare & Company and serve as the groundwork and artistic vocabulary for all of its performances,” Krausnick said. “For more than three decades, Shakespeare & Company has honed the techniques taught in the Month-Long Intensive, making them a key part of the theater’s core methodology."

The participants in last year’s Month-Long Intensive ranged in age from 21 to 70, with a median age range of 25 to 30 years old, and came from France, Ireland, Canada, Prague, and across the United States. The 2015 Month-Long Intensive faculty comprises women and men who act, direct, and teach not only at Shakespeare & Company, but also at many other cultural and academic institutions in the United States, Great Britain, Australia, and Canada.

Krausnick is a founding member of Shakespeare & Company, a member of the Board of Trustees and a master teacher in the Summer Training Institute. He played the title role in King Lear at Shakespeare & Company in 2012 and at other theaters on three previous occasions. He teaches and directs in theater programs across the country as well as designing and leading the actor-training programs for Shakespeare & Company; long-time audience members will remember his adaptations of the fiction of Edith Wharton performed over two decades in the Salon of the Mount during Shakespeare & Company’s residency there.

On December 28, 1978, a couple dozen actors arrived at The Mount (Edith Wharton’s estate and Shakespeare & Company’s former residence in Lenox) to work with a core of master teachers gathered by Tina Packer and Kristin Linklater. The group consisted of many of the cofounders of Shakespeare & Company, including movement choreographer John Broome and fight choreographer B.H. Barry. For the next four weeks, the actors immersed themselves in voice training, fight work, Elizabethan dance, and Shakespeare’s text.  The excitement of Packer’s approach to the structure of Shakespeare’s verse filled the hallways and the drawing rooms of The Mount, the old Westinghouse “Playhouse,” and the Music Room at Foxhollow (where the Boston Symphony had held its first concerts some 40 years earlier), and several other large rooms in the main building at Foxhollow in Lenox. 

While the original inspiration for the synthesis of different disciplines came from Packer, Shakespeare & Company’s training continues to evolve every year, fueled by the continuing observation of what happens when the actor is placed at the center of the artistic event.

Past training program participants include actors from the Moscow Arts Theatre, the Berliner Ensemble, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre of Great Britain, the Stratford Festival of Canada, and other regional theaters and Shakespeare festivals across the United States. Actors from the world of film and television have also taken part, including Lauren Ambrose, Karen Allen, Gillian Barge, Jennifer Grant, Karen Grassle, Joe Morton, Andie MacDowell, Bronson Pinchot, Oliver Platt, Anna Deavere Smith, Keanu Reeves, Lisa Rina, Kristin Rudrud, Diana Quick, Courtney Vance, and Sigourney Weaver. Alumni of the workshops now number more than 1,600 and represent more than 20 countries. 

For applications or more information on theMonth-Long Intensive, contact the Training Office at 413-637-1199, ext.114, e-mail training@shakepeare.org, or visit Shakespeare.org/training.

December 4, 2014

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