Shakespeare Theatre Company
Classes, Camps Lined Up for Early Birds
The Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) in Washington, D.C., has a wide variety of theater-related classes and camps for all ages in the winter and spring months, and the company currently is offering early registration and discounts for those and the summer Camp Shakespeare programs for kids.
Early registration for winter master acting classes ends on Monday, January 9. These classes go beyond typical tutoring on acting skills to behind-the-scenes crafts, including costuming and playwriting. In addition, STC offers specialized classes for business professionals, focusing on presentation and communication skills. All classes are taught by working professionals, award-winning actors, and veterans of the STC stage.
Meanwhile, Camp Shakespeare sessions for children will be $75 off the cost of tuition if they are registered by January 13.
Winter Master Classes
Classes are held weeknights from 6:45–9:15 p.m. for six sessions and meet at the Shakespeare Theatre Rehearsal Studios, 507 or 516 Eighth Street SE (unless otherwise listed). On the schedule for the winter are the following classes:
- Basic Sewing, Wednesdays, January 25–March 1. Instructor Randall Exton, a professional draper in STC's costume shop, provides hands-on experience with an introduction to both hand sewing and machine sewing, the building blocks of costume construction. No prior experience required, materials will be provided.
- Playwriting, Tuesdays, January 31–March 7. Instructor Stephen Spotswood will teach the basics of playwriting through exploring dramatic structure, creating compelling stories and characters, and discovering the vast potential of live theater. Students will create original work as well as have the opportunity to adapt and reinterpret existing material, finding inspiration in the season of plays at the STC and other theaters around Washington, D.C. No prior experience required.
- Voice and Speech, Mondays, January 23–March 6, (no class on President's Day, February 20). Under instructor Joy Jones, participants will explore the integration of voice and language while deepening understanding of the creative power of their own voices. Through a broad range of exercises, students will explore the complex links between breath, thought, emotion, voice, and language while increasing their ability to utilize safely and effectively an expressive, powerful, and fully embodied voice either onstage or in daily life. No prior experience required.
- Introduction to Acting, Tuesdays, January 3–March 7. Instructor Eva Wilhelm will lead participants on an exploration of the actor's vocal, physical, and psychological instrument. No prior experience required.
- Improvisation, Wednesdays, February 1–March 8. Instructor Brent Stansell uses games and exercises designed to stimulate creativity, think quickly in the moment, and encourage risk-taking while having a ton of fun. Participants will create motivated characters in dynamic scenes as they work toward a culminating performance in long-form improv. No prior experience required.
- Physical Comedy, Mondays, January 23–March 6, (no class on President's Day, February 20). Instructors Mark Jaster and Sabrina Mandell will teach the physical techniques that support comic performance, with exercises in stillness, reaction, mimetic gesture, physical characterization, status, clown, and much more. Jaster draws on his training with Etienne Decroux and Marcel Marceau. Mandell draws on her training in the LeCoq pedagogy with Dody DiSanto with concentration in the realm of the theatrical clown. Their complementary approaches combine to address both nuts-and-bolts technical skills and more elusive issues of honesty, presence, and accessibility. No prior experience required.
- Fundamentals of Scene Study, Thursdays, February 2–March 9. A class with instructor Dan Crane for those who are ready to move past improvisation exercises and start chewing on some text. Participants will plunge into scene work through in-depth text analysis, concentrated partner work, and full investment in given circumstances. This class will help participants explore ways to activate contemporary texts in rehearsal and performance. Prior participation in Introduction to Acting or equivalent required.
- Approaching Shakespeare, Thursdays, February 2–March 9. A class taught by Gregory Wooddell for those who have covered the basics and are ready to tackle the Bard. Through a mixture of performance and text analysis, students will gain a working knowledge of William Shakespeare's plays and language —verse, prose, meter, character, and intent—a foundation that can then be applied toward continuing study and performance. Prior participation in Introduction to Acting or equivalent required.
- Contemporary Scene Study, Mondays, February 6–March 20, (no class on President's Day, February 20). Students will plunge into scene work using in-depth text analysis and techniques professional actors use to develop character and make bold, dynamic choices while working with contemporary texts, all through concentrated partner work under guidance from STC Affiliated Artist and Helen Hayes Award-winner Nancy Robinette (fresh off her Broadway run in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time).
- Acting for Business Professionals, Wednesdays, February 1–March 8. Whether it's the boardroom or lunchroom, client or co-worker, participants will learn to maximize the potential of every meeting, presentation, and negotiation in the business world. Through the study of techniques used by actors and directors in the theater, Dan Crane will teach students how to listen and communicate more effectively and become more relaxed, present, and persuasive in public. No prior experience required.
Spring Master Classes
Classes are held weeknights from 6:45–9:15 p.m. for six sessions and meet at the Shakespeare Theatre Rehearsal Studios, located at 507 or 516 Eighth Street SE (unless otherwise listed). The following classes have been scheduled for the spring.
- Intermediate Sewing, Wednesdays, March 22–April 26. Randall Exton, professional draper in the STC costume shop, helps students build on their experience with hand sewing and machine sewing. Basic Sewing or equivalent and some experience with hand and machine sewing required. Materials will be provided.
- Directing for the Stage, Mondays, March 27–May 1. Michael Dove, producing artistic director of Forum Theatre, leads this crash course on directing for the stage, open to new directors, actors of all levels, and those with a literary interest. Students will discover approaches to directing from the first production meeting to opening night through discussions and exercises in text analysis, staging scenes, and creating or critiquing production concepts and designs. Prior experience with directing not required, but familiarity with theater is recommended.
- Introduction to Acting, Wednesdays, March 29–May 3. Instructor: Brent Stansell.
- Voice and Speech, Thursdays, March 30–May 4, (6:45–8:45 p.m.) Instructor: Tonya Beckman.
- Fundamentals of Scene Study, Tuesdays, March 28–May 2. Instructor: Eva Wilhelm.
- Acting on Camera, Tuesdays, March 28–May 2. Under the guidance of Brenna McDonough, the award-winning actor and author of You Can Work On-Camera, students will learn the basic skills needed to audition and work in films, commercials, and corporate industrial training films. Through improvisation techniques and working with scripts, students will expand their marketability and put their skills to work for the camera while exploring the professional demands of being a successful working actor in the Washington D.C./Baltimore market. Prior participation in Introduction to Acting or equivalent required.
- Combat 101, Thursdays, March 30–May 4. Paul E. Hope, Independent Fight Director (Utah Shakespeare Festival, Annapolis Shakespeare Company, Baltimore Shakespeare Festival, Michael Howard Studios NYC and more) leads a course exploring basic unarmed and armed stage combat. Participants will build skills in theatrical fighting styles and sword techniques through rehearsal and performance. No prior experience required.
- Shakespeare Scene Study, Mondays, March 13–April 17. Students will plunge into scene work from Shakespeare's canon through in-depth text analysis focusing on tools to unlock the acting clues hidden in Shakespeare's verse. Through concentrated partner work in rehearsal under guidance from professional actor Gregory Wooddell (Paris in STC's recent production of Romeo and Juliet), participants will discover techniques trained classical actors use to develop textual clarity, invest in the given circumstances and beats, physicalize actions and intentions, actively listen, and make bold, dynamic choices. Prior participation in Approaching Shakespeare or equivalent required.
- Playing Comedy, Mondays, March 27–May 1. Nancy Robinette will lead this class in which students learn how to play a scene for every last laugh, tackling both classic and contemporary comedic scenes to develop skills in physical and vocal performance, language, and character. Prior participation in Fundamentals of Scene Study or equivalent required.
- Acting for Business Professionals, Wednesdays, March 29–May 3. Instructor: Dan Crane.
All six-week classes cost $335, with $25 off for early registration by January 9. Discounts of 15 percent also are available for members of the Actor's Center and Actor's Equity, as well as for college students. Classroom teachers are eligible for a 20 percent discount, and STC volunteers for a 10 percent discount. Tuition is discounted 15 percent for attending two classes in a season, and 20 percent off for three classes.
No refunds or exchanges provided for missed classes, no matter the reason, including weather. STC rarely cancels events due to inclement weather. If STC cancels a class session for any reason, including inclement weather, the company will email participants and work to reschedule the class at a time convenient for the instructor and the majority of the students, but there will be no refund of tuition.
Every summer, STC gives students between the ages of 7 and 18 the chance to dive into the world of the greatest playwright in history. One-week sessions are available for Poppets (ages 7–8) and two-week sessions for Groundlings ( 9–11), Young Players ( 12–14) and King's Company ( 15–18). A three-week Advanced Camp is available for returning Young Players and King's Company campers. Acceptance into Advanced Camp is by audition only.
At Camp Shakespeare, students will transform into Shakespeare's characters through voice and movement work, unravel Shakespeare's plays with text analysis, develop fundamental acting skills, learn the basics of stage combat, and perform for friends and family onstage at the Shakespeare Theatre Company. Camp Days run from 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. Monday–Friday; performance times vary by program.
Each session covers a different play:
- For Poppets, A Midsummer Night's Dream, July 10–14; Romeo and Juliet, July 17–21; Twelfth Night, July 24–28; Macbeth, July 31–August 4; The Tempest, August 7–11; and Hamlet, August 14–18.
- For Groundlings, Twelfth Night, June 26–July 8 (no camp July 4); Romeo and Juliet, July 10–22; A Midsummer Night's Dream, July 24–August 5; and The Tempest, August 7–19.
- Young Players, Much Ado About Nothing, June 26–July 8; King Lear, July 10–22; The Comedy of Errors, July 24–August 5; Richard III, August 7–19; A Midsummer Night's Dream at Edmund Burke School in Washington, July 17–28; Macbeth in Alexandria, Virginia, July 24–August 5; As You Like It in McLean, Virginia, July 10–21.
- King's Company, The Comedy of Errors, June 26–July 7 (no camp July 4); Hamlet, July 10–22; As You Like It, July 24–August 5; Macbeth, August 7–19.
Tuition is $350 for the one-week Poppet Session, $725 for the two-week Performance Intensive, and $1,100 for the three-week Advanced Camp. Registration closes one week prior to the camp's start date or once a camp is full. In addition to the $75-off sale through January 13, discounts included $50 for registration before January 30, and $25 off for each additional registration of a sibling.
Audition dates for the Advanced Camp are February 25 and March 4, 10 am–1 pm.
For more information on the Master Acting Classes and registration, visit www.shakespearetheatre.org/education/classes-and-camps/master-acting-classes/. For more information on Camp Shakespeare and registration, visit www.shakespearetheatre.org/education/classes-and-camps/camp-shakespeare/.
January 6, 2017
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