Turn on the lights of inspiration and knowledge.
Note: Some workshops require prerequisites. Send us an email for questions regarding availability of specific workshops.
Curing Shakesfear series
Shakespeare’s Staging conditions
Step into Shakespeare’s world and explore how the staging conditions he wrote for and worked in reveal insights about the plays and playing. Experience the plays in the rooms Shakespeare wrote them for and see how it changes your perspective. Topics covered include: audience contact, playing darkness and the supernatural, hiding on the early modern stage, and asides. This workshop is excellent for all class types, especially those new to the ASC’s performance practices.
Tear down the monolith of Shakespeare’s text and unlock the choices available for character development in verse and prose. Shakespeare’s verbal patterns make the plays more energetic, more realistic, and more emotional, both on-stage and in the classroom. You will mine the text for these clues just like Shakespeare’s actors — and ours at the American Shakespeare Center. This workshop is excellent for both Literature and Theatre students.
If we still use 98% of the words Shakespeare used, then why is he sometimes hard to understand? This workshop cracks the code by breaking down figures of speech and illuminating them as clues for character. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it–and you might start using the techniques in your own communication. This workshop is excellent for Literature and Theatre Students.
Embedded Stage Directions
Little to no rehearsal time in Shakespeare’s theatre meant he had to give actors as much information as possible in the text. This workshop invigorates words and gives them life through clues for stage movement, emotional choices, and given circumstances. Explore how Shakespeare used the text to direct and see how simple choices can change the scene and create a different story. The combination of textual analysis and performance is excellent for Literature and Theatre classes.
What’s the difference between shared light and theatrical light design? Long speeches become active dialogues when an actor can talk to the audience, and in this workshop, you’ll experience the world Shakespeare and his actor created plays in, as well as the techniques ASC actors engage with, to make choices about when to bring the audience into the play. Using methods developed by ASC actors, you will find out how audience becomes character and character becomes intense. The combination of textual analysis and performance is excellent for Literature and Theatre classes.
This exploration takes participants on the journey Shakespeare’s actors made when they received their roles. Students will explore the essential information and playing prompts offered by the technology of script distribution in the period. Drawing from Tiffany Stern’s and Simon Palfrey’s Shakespeare in Parts, activities include examining repeated and double cues, as well as the unique (but active) listening required to function with limited, specific information.
Half of Shakespeare’s plays exist in more than one early modern edition, and the rest have been edited, modified, and adapted for hundreds of years. This workshop empowers participants to take the text back from the editors of old and choose the best story for the present. Celebrate the opportunity to create a new performance using the words Shakespeare wrote. Excellent for Literature, Theatre, and History students.
This workshop helps students explore the performances choices within Shakespeare’s text by applying the principles used in the rehearsal rooms and performance spaces of the ASC, including embedded stage directions, pronoun choices, character address, and audience contact. Participants will make artistic choices based on their new knowledge and direct the ASC actors in a scene from our repertory. This workshop is excellent for both English and Drama classes, best when students have taken one or more of the following workshops: Rhetoric, Direct Address, and Embedded Stage Directions.
Playing the stage series
CHARACTER PLAY – PHYSICAL MOVEMENT *
This workshop explores physical movement in terms of doubling and repertory. The practice of casting a single actor in multiple roles, a staging condition common both in Shakespeare’s company and at the ASC, opens opportunities for physical and mental exploration. Participants will see how choices they make can differentiate or enhance relationships between characters–and explore physicality with an eye toward making their interpretive choices clear. The combination of textual analysis and staging make this an excellent workshop for Literature and Theatre students.
CHARACTER PLAY – VOCAL PERFORMANCE *
This workshop explores vocal performance in terms of doubling and repertory. The practice of casting a single actor in multiple roles, a staging condition engaged by Shakespeare’s company and the ASC, opens opportunities for physical and mental exploration. Our actors will teach students basic differences between the front and back vowels which leads to the connection and understanding of vocal placement (i.e. breath support, vocal range). Then collectively we will pull from Shakespeare’s text and create a multitude of vocal character experience levels are welcomed. Great for Theatre students and those who are just plain curious.
The participants in this workshop will explore the songwriting and song placement involved in the production of plays at the American Shakespeare Center. This workshop explores the development and rehearsal process of written music in our musical pre-show and interludes, and underscoring that goes into staging. The workshop culminates with participants helping to “score” a scene or monologue using our talented musicians, to demonstrate how the right piece of music can “make or break” a scene. An interdisciplinary workshop suitable for a range of audience, no previous musical experience required.
BASIC STAGE COMBAT
Best with 16 Participants or fewer
In this workshop, participants will examine the text and context surrounding the fights in Shakespeare’s and his contemporaries’ plays for clues regarding movement and style. Then, participants will observe our trained actor combatants perform choreographed fights and hear, from fight captains, or choreographers, the motivation behind each choice and its connection to the text of the play and the style of fighting called for in the period. Participants will practice hand-to-hand stage combat techniques, and apply the skills in a safe environment. All participants should be of high-school age or older.
Limited to 30 Participants
Participants in this workshop will explore the research, development, and construction that goes into costuming Shakespeare’s plays during the Elizabethan period. Students will explore the use of status through costumes; how the text influences a designer; and discuss modern ‘interpretations’, color theory, and wardrobe history. The workshop culminates in students “designing” their own characters for a production. An interdisciplinary workshop suitable for a range of audiences.
Many of Shakespeare’s plays include scenes of violence, in which characters are wounded in combat or display their injuries on stage. This workshop encourage participants to explore how modern companies can represent blood on the stage in ways that are realistic, safe, and easy to clean up. Participants will examine the blood requirements of several scenes from Titus Andronicus, Julius Caesar, and Macbeth and then put some crimson recipes into action. An interdisciplinary workshop suitable for a range of audiences.
Shakespeare’s use of dance in plays such as Much Ado about Nothing and Romeo and Juliet shows that he possessed an intimacy with the potential for emotional communication in each step and gesture. In this workshop, participants learn dances from Shakespeare’s era, place them in the context of the scenes Shakespeare wrote them for, and experience how the ASC arranges dance to feel engaging and exciting for the modern audience. An interdisciplinary workshop suitable for a range of audiences.
Shakespeare’s clowns and fools are memorable facets of his plays. In this class, participants study the differences between the two character types, learn basic skills for interpretations, and apply them to the text in performance. An interdisciplinary workshop suitable for a range of audiences.
TALKBACK WITH ACTORS
If you are not able to attend one of our regularly scheduled Talk Back sessions, you can book one just for your group. Five minutes after the end of the show, several actors return to the stage to take your questions. Learn from the actors the secrets of bringing Shakespeare from the page to the stage of the Blackfriars Playhouse. Talk backs are great for all audiences.
*not available on tour