Tuesday, April 26, 2005


Summer Professional Training Program provides valuable experience for aspiring actors, arts administrators, designers, directors and technicians

Madison, NJ – The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey is now accepting applications for acting apprenticeships and internships in all areas, designed for young adults ages 18 and older. Both are part of the Theatre’s Summer Professional Training Program, now in its fifteenth year, which gives aspiring actors, young theatre artists and technicians, and future arts administrators valuable opportunities to develop their skills under the auspices of a major professional theatre. The 2005 training program, with the theme “Take the Summer On!” runs from May 29 through August 15. The application deadline is May 13.

Acting Apprenticeships

The rigorous 11-week Apprentice Program provides students at the college level and above with classroom training, valuable performance experience, mentorship by skilled actors and directors, and essential exposure to all aspects of professional theatre. Acting apprentices study Shakespeare’s text, experiment with various approaches to performance, participate in scene study classes, and receive professional movement, stage combat and vocal training. This year’s faculty members are working professionals who teach at SUNY Purchase, Wagner College and the University of South Carolina. Each week includes three full days of classes that create a crucial framework for the actor’s experiences at The Shakespeare Theatre and beyond.

Supplementing the regularly scheduled class days, apprentices also take part in Sunday Morning Seminars and Master Classes, a series of workshops and classes that are conducted by guest and resident theatre professionals. A variety of specialized topics are explored, including career management, audition techniques and headshot and résumé tips, to name only a few.

In addition, apprentices gain valuable technical and administrative experience by assisting in the scene shop, costume shop and in the various offices of The Shakespeare Theatre. In the evenings, participants may function on “running crews” for the Theatre’s Main Stage productions. Some apprentices may perform on the Main Stage in smaller roles or focus on their own performance work.

As a troupe, the apprentices present three Performance Scene Nights, one Fight Night and a Final Project to an audience comprised of the entire summer company and invited guests. There is also an opportunity for some apprentices to participate in Late-Night Projects, directed by resident directing interns, and the annual Late-Night Cabaret, a unique variety show performed for an audience of company members and Shakespeare Theatre subscribers.

“This program is certainly not for everyone,” comments Brian B. Crowe, resident artist and director of education. “It’s rigorous and intense and there is not a lot of ‘down-time,’ but in the end, each participant will know if this is a career that he or she has the passion to pursue full time. Every autumn, I get calls from apprentices, who, upon returning to school, are amazed at the impact this program has had on them. They see a vast improvement not only in their skills, but also in their confidence and self-awareness.”

Behind the scenes, the Intern Company is comprised of experienced early-career individuals in non-performance fields. From carpentry to design, costumes to box office, and fund-raising to education, The Shakespeare Theatre’s internship program puts aspiring artists and technicians side-by-side with working theatre professionals, where they gain valuable hands-on experience and important professional contacts. Internships are offered in 21 areas of concentration, and select internships are available prior to and following the regular Summer Professional Training Program dates.

Nurturing young artists and aspiring theatre professionals

Over the years, participants have come from around the globe to The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey’s Summer Professional Training Program. Alumni hail from Japan, England, China, Australia, Turkey and from throughout the United States.

Many members of the program return year after year, working their way “up the ladder” at The Shakespeare Theatre. In fact, nearly 20% of The Shakespeare Theatre’s current full-time, year-round staff members are alumni of the Summer Professional Training Program. Among them are associate artistic director Joe Discher; director of education Brian B. Crowe; assistant production manager Denise Cardarelli, information systems manager Roderick Lapid; and assistant to the artistic director Paige Blansfield.

Individuals enrolled in the program are mentored by seasoned professionals, gradually being presented with larger roles or greater duties as they prove themselves. Says Crowe, “The Theatre has a strong commitment to developing long-term, ongoing relationships with young artists — something that is rarely seen in summer training programs today.”

He continued, “These days there are so few opportunities for this type of ‘through-the-ranks’ training. That is unfortunate, since this mentoring approach is such an important part of the theatrical tradition. University and conservatory programs, for all of the valuable training they offer young people, cannot provide the intense, hands-on experience that this kind of professional theatre program supplies.”

Enrollment information

Tuition for the Apprentice Program is only $1,475 for the 11-week-long program. There is no tuition fee for the Internship Program. The majority of internships are unpaid, but a limited number of stipends are available in certain areas. Housing, if required, is $840 for the 11-week program (waived for commuting students) for both apprentices and interns. Equity Membership Candidate points and college credit are available.

For more information or a Summer Professional Training Program application, call Jake Berger, associate director of education, at 973-408-3806 or e-mail JBerger@ShakespeareNJ.org.

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