(Lenox, MA) – Shakespeare & Company‘s Summer Training Institute kicked off last month. The four week program provides young actors, ages 18-25, the opportunity to immerse themselves in the actor/audience acting approach and pedagogy of the Company. The Summer Training Institute is targeted for undergraduate theatre students, recent graduates, and early career acting professionals. This summer the program includes 39 participants from all over the United States, including the South, Midwest, New England, and the West Coast. The program is also hosting international students from Australia and the Marshall Islands.
“I’m excited to help create a space where 39 students from around the world have the opportunity to delight in Shakespeare, poetry, and perhaps themselves,” said Michael F. Toomey a senior faculty member at the Summer Training Institute.
Through the Center for Actor Training, Shakespeare & Company’s founding artists and teaching faculty have developed a common artistic vocabulary and coherent approach to performing Shakespeare that provides a solid foundation for their work. Modeled after the Company’s internationally acclaimed Month-Long Intensive, the Summer Training Institute provides young actors the opportunity to immerse themselves in Shakespeare six days a week for four weeks at the beginning of the summer performance season.
“As a musical theatre major at my school, I was looking to expand my skill set into a realm that I don’t get to play much in, and that is Shakespeare,” stated Coastal Carolina University junior, Emily Dye. “I wanted training that would be rigorous yet freeing in a non-school environment and decided the Summer Training Institute would be a good fit. Almost two weeks into the intensive, I have discovered a fiery passion for this work that has brought forth an awareness of myself and has made me feel strong and more confident of my artistic ability. I feel as if I am expanding myself to its full potential, and that is extremely thrilling.”
“From a young age, Shakespeare’s work has always been an integral part of my life whether it was a conscious choice or not. In primary school, we learnt his phrases; in high school, we read his plays; and in drama school, we played his characters,” said Verity Wood, an international student from Belbourne, Australia. “This summer at Shakespeare & Company, I am learning the true significance of living his text. Through the uniquely thoughtful structure and generous mentoring I have inherited a profound skill set, which I believe I will always refer back to throughout the duration of my career and life.”
The program includes daily classes in Linklater voice work, movement, fight work, clown, Shakespeare text, Elizabethan dance, and an in-depth exploration of the actor/audience relationship. In addition, participants attend Master Classes with the Company’s world renowned faculty, including founding Artistic Director Tina Packer. They engage with Company members in an inquiry of rehearsal methods and attend Shakespeare & Company rehearsals & performances.
Summer Training Institute Faculty includes Company Actors, Directors, Master Teachers from around the United States and Canada, and Shakespeare & Company Founders. The 2019 Master Teachers, led by Andrew Borthwick-Leslie, Workshop Coordinator, include: Jenna May Cass (Text & Sonnet), Rebecca Goodheart (Wit), Susan Dibble (Movement), Tom Jaeger (Text), Corinna May (Fight), Tina Packer (Masterclasses), Tori Rhoades (Movement & Text), Rebecca Schneebaum (Voice), Gwendolyn Schwinke (Voice), Michael F. Toomey (Clown & Text), Kevin Vavasseur (Text), Bob Wicks (Text & Journal), Ryan Winkles (Fight), and Kristin Wold (Movement & Text). For bios and more information on this year’s Faculty click here.
About Michael F. Toomey
Michael has been company member at Shakespeare & Company for nearly twenty years where he is an actor, director and faculty member. He is the Co-Artistic Director of the NYC based theatre company The Humanist Project. He is also a founding member and trustee of Split Knuckle Theatre, which devises new works of theatre and is currently touring throughout the world with recent performances in Bangkok, Athens and Paris. Michael has been a Visiting Assistant Professor at Binghamton University teaching Clown, Shakespeare and Fight. Michael teaches workshops for professional actors in Fight, Clown and Shakespeare around the country and abroad. He has directed, devised and choreographed numerous shows including Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar and Alice In Wonderland. Michael has performed throughout the East Coast and internationally including roles such as Macbeth, Scapin, and Polonius. He is a graduate from LISPA (London International School of Performing Arts) and holds an MFA in Lecoq-based actor created theatre from Naropa University.
About the Center For Actor Training
The very heart of Shakespeare & Company is its professional actor training. The aesthetic of the Company was created within the training devised by Tina Packer and the Master Teachers, and it is through these programs that the aesthetic is continually investigated, redefined, and reinvigorated. Actors, directors, writers, and teachers from all over the world come to work with the Company’s faculty to train not only their voices and their bodies with a daily regimen of demanding classes, but also to delve deeply into their own imaginations, intellects, and emotional lives. Shakespeare & Company’s curriculum is internationally recognized as a deeply effective training experience for actors who aspire to bring their talent, intuition, and spirit to a higher level.
About Shakespeare & Company
Located in the beautiful Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, Shakespeare & Company is one of the leading Shakespeare festivals of the world. Founded in 1978, the organization attracts over 40,000 patrons annually. The Company is also home to an internationally renowned Center for Actor Training and award-winning Education Program. More information is available at www.shakespeare.org.