Shakespeare Works is The Shakespeare Society’s multifaceted initiative in support of actors, directors and theatrical institutions. Through residencies, workshops, open rehearsals, lectures, post-show discussions, affordable classes and discounted memberships, The Shakespeare Society partners with a range of artists, theaters and cultural institutions to develop and support the production, exploration and appreciation of Shakespeare's works.
The cornerstone of Shakespeare Works is a series of weeklong artist development Residencies. The Society provides participating actors and directors with modest stipends, study materials, rehearsal space and access to artistic, academic, and voice and text advisors who work in order to examine a single Shakespeare play over the course of 1 week (25 to 30 hours). The week concludes with a panel discussion reviewing the week’s work in front of a live audience. The program is designed to give participants the time and space to learn, experiment and explore the plays with a freedom that producing theater companies can rarely provide. The only residency requirement is that every word of the chosen play be read aloud.
In 2013-2014, The Shakespeare Society will host Shakespeare Works Residencies in collaboration with the Public Theater. Panel discussions will be hosted by The Public Theater.
The Shakespeare Society's Ambassadors Program is an opportunity for early career theater artists and teachers passionate about Shakespeare to develop their skills while helping The Society further its mission. Actors, teaching artists, directors, dramaturges and designers who have finished their undergraduate degrees should apply. Ambassadors participate in the program for at least 1 year, with the option to stay an additional year as a mentor to incoming participants.
Ambassadors enjoy free admission to Society events, discounted tickets for friends, and participation in two artistic development weekends a season. In Fall 2014, the Ambassadors Weekend included master classes on Shakespeare's Verse with Michael Sexton (Artistic Director, The Shakespeare Society), Clowning with Keith Fasciani (San Francisco Circus Center), and Shakespeare Education with Jordan Dann (Education Director, Teachers & Writers Collaborative). In Spring 2014, the weekend explored Richard III and featured classes with Michael Sexton, Rob Clare (director, UK National Theatre), and Peter Francis James (professor of acting, Yale School of Drama).
In 2014, the Ambassadors also helped develop new programming for The Shakespeare Society. These included young member socials following Major Evening Events; a Shakespeare Society Tumblr; podcasts featuring interviews with special guests; and a bi-monthly play discussion group called Bard Club. The Ambassadors will continue these initiatives in 2014-15 while developing new ideas to engage current Society members and cultivate younger membership. In 2014-15, The Society will also explore options for the Ambassadors to showcase their talents, e.g. through a public event as part of The Society's regular season.
The application period for 2014-2015 is now closed. Check back for more opportunities in June 2015!
Meet the 2013 Shakespeare Society Ambassadors:
Comedy Of Errors (Public Theatre), HAMLET (Shakespeare Theatre Company), HENRY IV PART 1 (Extant Arts), TRANQUIL (TERRAnova). Clint is a recent graduate of Juilliard.
New York theater: The Shakespeare Forum, The Hudson Theater, Amios Theater, and CST. Regional theater: The Shakespeare Theater of New Jersey, The Magic Theatre, Montana Shakespeare Company, Berkeley Repertory Theater, The Shakespeare Theater (DC), The American Conservatory Theater, The California Shakespeare Theater, The San Francisco Playhouse, and Marin Shakespeare Company. Film and television: On-Call, Vampire Secrets, The Valentine's Day Special, and RENT. Teaching artist with Classic Stage Company, Brooklyn Acting Academy, Actors Shakespeare Company, and the 52nd Street Project. Training: The Shakespeare Theater (MFA), U.C. Berkeley (B.A.), The Actors Center. www.maxondavis.com
RJ Foster is a New York based Equity actor. Born in Baltimore, MD, he attended college at Fordham University at Lincoln Center majoring Theatre Performance. He as worked in theatre regionally and off-broadway with the Pearl Theatre Company mainly focusing on the works of Shakespeare.
Kambi Gathesha is excited to be a part of the inaugural Shakespeare Society Ambassador’s Program. Born in Nairobi, Kenya, he grew up in Saudi Arabia and is currently a Harlem-based actor, writer, and choreographer. As an actor, his credits include Midsummer Night’s Dream (Classical Theatre of Harlem), The Marriage of Bette and Boo, Big Love, The Burden of Sunflowers (all at Williamstown Theatre Festival), Three Sisters, As You Like It, Architecture of Loss (at Juilliard); As a choreographer, his work has appeared at Cool New York White Wave Festival, Downtown Dance Festival at Battery Park, and Merce Cunningham. As an artist, he is committed to making theater more inclusive, more accessible, and more connected to the communities of New York. He is alum of Columbia University (African History) and alum of The Juilliard School where he studied Drama under Michael Kahn.
Shannon Harris made her Equity debut as “Paulina/Time/Dorcas” in Actors Shakespeare Company’s spring 2013 production of The Winter’s Tale and played “Lovey Jones” and “Angela Walker” in Dream Deferred, a 2012 AUDELCO award nominee for Dramatic Production of the Year. Other favorite credits include: Romeo and Juliet (Nurse), Mama Africa (Mama), and Othello (Emilia) in NYC; The Winter's Tale (Hermione) and Comedy of Errors (Adriana) in London; and for colored girls... (Lady in Red), AMSND (Titania), and Trojan Women (Hecuba) in LA. Shannon holds an MA in Classical Acting (Distinction) from CSSD and also trained at AADA-LA and Barnard College (BA, English).
Emily Lyon is a director who loves witty, thought-provoking, accessible stories. Her work includes: directing Hamlet, Measure for Measure, and Harold Pinter’s The Hothouse; coaching students in Detroit to present their own poetry; participating in a Royal Shakespeare Company residency; assisting a series of readings for Julie Taymor at Theatre for a New Audience. With a thorough background in Shakespeare, she’s studied at Shakespeare’s Globe, Folger Shakespeare Library, and University of Michigan (BFA: Directing). She also co-founded an award-winning film production company, known for creative pieces for community impact. Between quirky musicals about bus systems, promotional videos for theatrical productions, and PSAs for social change, Emily has a diverse range of writing and directing experience. (In fact, she just wrote a children’s book!) Emily’s two favorite moments as a director are hearing audience members leave Hamlet saying, “I completely understood that!” and making Sir Michael Boyd belly-laugh.
Elizabeth Mackintosh is an actor/producer originally from Woodbridge, NJ. In addition to being an ambassador at the Shakespeare Society, she is also a member of the inaugural class of The Women in the World Foundation's Next Generation Leadership Academy. Past credits include Hero u/s (Much Ado About Nothing), Liz Essendine u/s (Present Laughter) and Rozie u/s (The Electric Baby) at Two River Theater; Arkadina (The Seagull), Lady Croom (Arcadia), and Rose of Sharon (The Grapes of Wrath) at Montclair State University where she received her BFA in Acting.
Terra Mackintosh started attending the Shakespeare Society's events last year and became very passionate about the work the Society was doing. She began working with Michael, Michelle, and Claire to develop the Shakespeare Society Ambassadors Program, and is thrilled to have such an inspiring group of young artists bringing it to life. Terra holds a BA in Musical Theatre from Ball State University, with both an Honors College and International Baccalaureate Diploma. Recent credits include Somewhere Safer (Off-Broadway), The New Hopeville Comics (Off-Broadway), The Bedroom Window (world premier), Blackbeard and Beautiful Star (Triad Stage). Television credits include SMASH and THE ORDAINED (CBS pilot). She can also be seen in Peter Askin's upcoming film A GOOD MARRIAGE. www.terramackintosh.com
Liz Nearing is co-founder of Empty Chair Theatre Company where she directed Shakespeare’s Richard III, Measure for Measure, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Hamlet. She works as the head of Empty Chair's summer programs teaching students ages 6-18. Additional directing credits include Still Life With Iris and Master Harold...and the boys. She was the Artistic Resident for Long Wharf Theatre's 2012-2013 season, assistant directing for Gordon Edelstein and Eric Ting. Graduate of Carnegie Mellon School of Drama where she devised a one man Richard II with Matthew Nuernberger. Previously she has worked at Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA and Classic Stage Company in New York. www.elizabethnearing.com
Reynaldo Piniella is an actor born and raised in New York City. Theater credits include Romeo & Juliet (Actors Theatre of Louisville), Honky (Urban Stages), Two Gentlemen of Verona (FringeNYC), The Great Recession (Flea Theater), Worldwide Plays Festival (59E59), The Toilet (New Federal Theatre) and Hamletmachine (Castillo Theatre). Workshops and readings at NYTW, Primary Stages and the McCarter Theatre. Film credits include Broken City and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. TV credits include Law & Order: SVU and NYC 22. Reynaldo is also a die-hard Knicks, Jets and Yankees fan. Follow me on Twitter @ReynaldoRey. www.reynaldopiniella.com
Katharine Pitt is a native New Yorker who loves everything Shakespeare. A twin brother, the nickname “Kate”, and extraordinary teachers were strong prevailments in her unhardened youth. She graduated from Yale in 2012 with a dual degree in History and Theater Studies, writing both theses on Shakespeare during the American Civil War. In college, she acted, directed, produced, or dramaturged over twenty-five plays, including productions of Richard III, Henry V, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Macbeth, and Othello. She was one of the student coordinators of the spring 2012 Shakespeare at Yale celebration and is a proud member of the Elizabethan Club. An former All-American foil fencer, she studies stage combat in Shakespeare and nineteenth-century Shakespeare performance. She has studied at RADA and Shakespeare & Company, where she also taught in the youth program. She currently works at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C., and is proud to be a Shakespeare Ambassador this year.
Ruffin was born and raised in Richmond Va. He is a recent graduate of Rutgers University's MFA acting program. He also holds a BA in Theater Arts from the University of Pittsburgh and is a Guthrie Experience for Actors in Training Alumni. He extremely excited to be working with the Shakespeare Society and such a unique, talented, and wonderful group of artists that make the first Ambassador program. Truly an honor.
Alexander is an accomplished actor/musician/composer whose NYC credits include Cyrano de Bergerac (Broadway with Kevin Kline); Measure For Measure, Romeo & Juliet (NYSF/The Public); Othello (TFANA); Volpone, Women Beware Women (Red Bull); Bottom of the World (Atlantic); Macbeth, King Lear, Romeo & Juliet, Marat/Sade, Emancipation, Three Sisters (Classical Theatre of Harlem). Regional credits include Walnut Street Theater, Shakespeare Theatre of DC, The Wharton Salon, and 6 seasons with Shakespeare & Company. In addition to his performance and design work, Alexander also teaches an annual workshop on the Dramatic Function of Music in Shakespeare’s Plays for The Shakespeare Theatre of DC’s graduated MFA Acting program - The Academy for Classical Acting. Training: BA in Theater from SUNY Geneseo, MFA in Classical Acting from the ACA. Most recently, Alexander traveled to Milan, Italy to perform the title role in Hyperion Theater Company’s production of Hamlet. For a good time, check out www.AlexanderSovronsky.com
Montgomery Sutton is an actor, playwright, and producer. In NYC, he has been seen in King Lear (American Bard, 2013 NYIT Award Nominee, Outstanding Actor in a Featured Role); The Nightmare Dream (Bloody Shakespeare, FringeNYC ’13); Othello, Candide (Gallery Players); Clothes for a Summer Hotel (White Horse Theater Company); Henry IV, Henry V (Rebellious Subjects), and with theaters including the Metropolitan Playhouse, GTTP, EBE Ensemble, and Crosstown Playwrights. Regional: Gruesome Playground Injuries (Second Thought); A Bright New Boise, The Whipping Man (Circle Theatre); The Temperamentals (Uptown Players); Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest (Shakespeare Dallas) and with Watertower Theatre, Theatre Three, and the Dallas Children’s Theater. Film: Brute, Office Rehab, The Monkey’s Paw, Those Four Words, Net Worth. Upcoming: Oswald (Casa Manana), and the films Trouble with Women, ANIMALS, and Turncoat. BFA, NYU (Atlantic Theater Company).
Charlotte Thun-Hohenstein is thrilled to be part of the Shakespeare Ambassadors. She recently graduated from Yale University where she studied Shakespeare's texts alongside performing musical theater and opera, for which she has won multiple awards. Since reaching New York she has done several plays (including Austin Pendleton's 'Ashes to Ashes'), and continues studying acting and singing technique.
Claire began her acting career in the UK. Among her favorite UK productions are The Trojan Women – MAC Theatre Co. (Hecuba), Women of the Sidhe - Associated Gate Theatre (Narrator) and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Helena) along with some fun television appearances. Since her arrival in the U.S. she has appeared in two Off-Broadway shows as well as numerous regional productions. Favorite roles include Josie Hogan in A Moon For The Misbegotten, Mary Stuart in Mary Stuart, Titania/ Hipolyta in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Bella in Lost in Yonkers, Charlotte Payne Townsend in Engaging Shaw and Rosie Pye in Humble Boy along with many wonderful other parts. She starred in the films Freedom Fighter, The Factory and Departure and the T.V documentary Jack the Ripper – An Ongoing Mystery for the Discovery Channel. You can also hear her as the voice of the Open Technology Fund Website. Claire obtained a BA Honours degree in Drama and Theatre Arts from the University of Birmingham in the UK and is an aluma of the Intensive Actor Training Program at Shakespeare and Company. Her passion for and investment in the accessibility and power of Shakespeare’s work and its relevance for our society and especially our young people lead her to create the Shakespeare Society Ambassador program along with Terra Mackintosh. She is thrilled to be expanding the reach of the amazing work that the Shakespeare Society does in our community. Claire is also the Director of Education for The Shakespeare Forum. More information at www.clairewarden.com