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The Shakespeare Forum

Actors' Classes Scheduled in Verse and Fights

The Shakespeare Forum logoThe Shakespeare Forum in New York City has laid out its schedule of classes for the upcoming autumn months. The focus of the Forum's classes is on professional actors honing their skills through working with texts and building characters.

An eight-week class called "Act I, Scene 1" is intended to help students discover, explore, and hone the vital tools required for working with William Shakespeare's texts. "We meet you at your level and help you bring yourself more fully to the work," says the class description. "Using your own existing skills and experiences, we will support your search for truthful, immediate, and acute presence in your work." The class will cover the full range of working with Shakespeare's texts, from in-depth verse and text work to voice, breath, and physical training, leading each participant to an advanced understanding of performing Shakespeare. This class, taught by Shakespeare Forum Co-founders Tyler Moss (artistic director) and Sybille Bruun (executive director), both veteran Shakespearean stage actors, will be conducted on Wednesdays, September 20–November 8, 7–10 p.m. Cost of class is $400 per person.

A six-week Monday afternoon class in "Verse and Text" examines Shakespeare's writing for insights into using verse and prose to "guide and liberate us as actors and directors," says the class description. "We will explore fundamental verse structure and discover how Shakespeare expertly manipulates language to support the actor through the text. We will delve into the structures, explore word choices, and discover how to approach pieces of text in a fresh and revealing way. You will learn to spot the clues within the text itself to find sense, meaning, pace, and character. You will gain techniques that allow you to use the text in a cold reading of any monologue or scene to unlock quick comprehension and make active, confident choices that create dynamic, fully realized characters." The class, taught by Moss and Claire Warden, a professional actress and the Forum's director of engagement, runs from noon–3 p.m. on Mondays, September 11–October 16. Cost is $300 per person.

Warden will also teach a six-week class in stage fighting beginning in October. Students will learn the techniques of stage fight and explore violence as part of the human condition in order to take their acting to a deeper level. Lessons include participating in numerous hand-to-hand forms of violence in a safe and fun way while learning "to open and connect to your physical self through the form and technique of Stage Violence, allowing you to develop an awareness of your physical state and use your body as a vehicle to express the emotional content of your work." The class runs from noon–3 p.m. on Thursdays, October 12–November 16. You will learn how to tell stories of violence on stage in a safe, responsible, and compelling way and how to keep yourself and your partners safe when acting in stage violence. Tuition is $300 per person.

Shakespeare Forum is also planning to offer a three-month grad school audition class led by the organization's new associate artistic director, Maxon Davis. Davis has training and stage experience with The Shakespeare Theater, University of California at Berkeley, the American Conservatory Theater, Fiasco Theater, and The Actors Center. He is an AmSTAT certified teacher of the Alexander Technique. The three-month program will feature a combination of classes, individual coaching sessions, and mock auditions while addressing the application and audition process. Dates and fees are still being worked out, but those interested can contact Davis directly at

The Shakespeare Forum is committed to ensuring that its classes are never cost prohibitive. "We have a variety of payment plans and will work with you in every way we can," the company says. Discounts include signing up for more than one class ($50 off tuition for each additional class) and a 10 percent discount for previous Forum students. Also, a scholarship is available for each class.

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August 25, 2017

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