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Shakespeare And Co Ma Actor Training Group Of Actors Sit In Circle

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.


Through the Center for Actor Training, Shakespeare & Company’s performance artists, education artists, and artist-managers develop a common artistic vocabulary and coherent approach to performing Shakespeare that provides a solid foundation for their work. 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.

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Actor Training Programs

Summer Training Institute

Modeled after our 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 during our summer performance season.

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Month-Long Intensive

Create a new relationship with Shakespeare’s text, with yourself as an actor, and with your place in the world of theater during the Month-Long Intensive, the core of Shakespeare & Company’s training disciplines. All of the training devised to create the power and aesthetic of the Company is condensed into four weeks of fourteen-hour days which challenge, discombobulate and illuminate actors from all over the world who come to train here.

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Weekend Intensive

The Weekend Intensives are designed to meet the needs of actors who seek an introduction to Shakespeare & Company’s training methods, and an opportunity to re-awaken and revitalize their relationship to Shakespeare’s text.

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Specialized Workshops

A variety of specialized workshops exploring a full range of disciplines including clown, stage fight, rhetoric, Linklater voice, Women of Will with Tina Packer, and more.

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Meet the Faculty

Jane Nichols

Jane Nichols

JANE NICHOLS is an actress, director, and teacher. She first studied with Shakespeare & Company in 1983, and has taught and acted with the Company off and on since then. Inspired by the work of Merry Conway at the 1983 workshop, Jane developed a passion for Clowning. Her teaching today brings together skills and techniques of Le Jeu, Physical Comedy, Clown, Bouffon, Improvisation, and Mask.

In addition to Merry Conway, she has studied with Philippe Gaulier (Ecole Gaulier), Clive Mendes (Theatre Complicite), Ronlin Foreman (DellArte School of Physical Theatre), Michael Kennard (co-founder of Canada’s Mump & Smoot, and Master teacher of the Richard Pochinko native American mask/clown technique), Avner Eisenberg (Avner the Eccentric), Davis Robinson (author of Physical Comedy Handbook), Keith Johnstone (Impro and Impro for Storytellers), and world-renowned Czech clown, Bolek Polivka.

Before S&Co, Jane worked as an actress in Boston, and was the Founder/Artistic Director of Crosswalk Theatre for Children. In 1985, applying her knowledge of children’s theatre to Shakespeare, Jane created and implemented the curriculum for the S&Co Elementary and Jr High School program which continues to this day.

In addition to S&Co, Jane has held teaching positions at the Yale School of Drama; Juilliard; Harvard University; ART; ACT; Brown University; the Actors Center in NYC; Stella Adler Conservatory; Emerson College; Simon’s Rock College of Bard, and University of Washington.

She has directed shows at Harvard University, Brown University, Washington Ensemble Theatre (WET), Intiman Theatre, Seattle Shakespeare Co, Seattle University, Cornish College of the Arts, and Room Circus Medical Clowning. With her company of former clown students, Logic Limited, Ltd., she devised: Desdemonas Dream; Schaden, Freude, and You: A 3 Clown Seminar; TiVO la Resistance; New Shorts; and A Night at the Trojan Wall: a Clown version of the Iliad. For Cirque du Soleil she worked with John Gilkey, Daniel Passer, and Wayne Wilson to develop and devise the cabaret Your New Best Friends.

Acting credits include roles at Dallas Theatre Center, Portland Stage Co, En Garde Arts, Synapse Productions, New Georges, Shakespeare & Company, Gloucester Stage Co, Nora Theatre, Lyric Stage, Berkshire Public, Counterpoint Theatre, Cambridge Theatre Co. Film and TV credits include: School Ties; Heights; The Living Room Waltz; Ed; Law & Order SVU; America’s Most Wanted; Connect With English; and Rachels Dinner with Olympia Dukakis. She has done numerous voice overs and commercials.

More about the S&Co. Faculty

From the Alumni

Lulu Fogarty

Lulu Fogarty

My experience at the 2007 Summer Training Institute was absolutely priceless….I learned to bring a sense of play to everything I do. Play might be the most important tool for an actor but it’s surprising how quickly we forget to play because we try to be ‘right.’ There is no such thing as ‘right.’ To me, this is what the moreMy experience at the 2007 Summer Training Institute was absolutely priceless….I learned to bring a sense of play to everything I do. Play might be the most important tool for an actor but it’s surprising how quickly we forget to play because we try to be ‘right.’ There is no such thing as ‘right.’ To me, this is what the training at STI is all about. These lessons??"play, trust, and be ‘wrong’??"are the most important tools an actor can ever have….Words cannot express how lucky I feel to have gotten the opportunity to train at S&Co and become part of this community.

Halima Henderson

Halima Henderson

I’ve kept busy over the past year, and I have to say that weekend intensive has proven to be very effective! Everyone always asks about it when they see it on my resume and I love waxing poetically about it! Not only that, friendships that I made during my weekend have been long-lasting, I love running into folks at auditions moreI’ve kept busy over the past year, and I have to say that weekend intensive has proven to be very effective! Everyone always asks about it when they see it on my resume and I love waxing poetically about it! Not only that, friendships that I made during my weekend have been long-lasting, I love running into folks at auditions and have coffee with folks in the city and one friend even helped to book me in my first fully compensated theater job! Those three days were successful in so many ways I hadn’t even planned on!

Maura Matarese

Maura Matarese

I attend at least one workshop at Shakespeare & Company each year as it always allows me an opportunity to grow as actor, to continue to free my actor’s instrument, to meet exciting new artists from around the world, and to spend time in an environment I love, with a faculty whom I deeply respect. moreI attend at least one workshop at Shakespeare & Company each year as it always allows me an opportunity to grow as actor, to continue to free my actor’s instrument, to meet exciting new artists from around the world, and to spend time in an environment I love, with a faculty whom I deeply respect.

Teresa Spencer

Teresa Spencer

The most important thing I’ve taken from the Conservatory has been a sense of professionalism. I used to consistently walk into auditions feeling the terror of unpreparedness: even if I’d rehearsed my monologue or sides forwards and backwards, I would arrive at an audition and suddenly feel overtaken with a sense of not knowing what the hell I was doing, moreThe most important thing I’ve taken from the Conservatory has been a sense of professionalism. I used to consistently walk into auditions feeling the terror of unpreparedness: even if I’d rehearsed my monologue or sides forwards and backwards, I would arrive at an audition and suddenly feel overtaken with a sense of not knowing what the hell I was doing, and I’m sure that this came through in my demeanor and performance. Since doing the Conservatory, I’ve noticed a marked difference in my confidence. I know my way around my craft, and this changes everything about an audition situation. My pieces are well chosen and well prepared; I know how to center my breath and body; I walk in feeling relaxed and happy to be there. I feel like I belong in the room, and this significant shift in perspective has made an enormous difference for me professionally. I’m getting twice as many callbacks and jobs (yes, jobs!) as I used to. Since returning from the Conservatory, some of the accomplishments I’ve been most proud of have been a callback for Viola in Twelfth Night at an Equity theatre in Baltimore, the title role in a children’s show with Classika Theater (which I’m rehearsing right now), and an invitation to train for a month with a dance theatre company in Virginia. I’ll also be going back to Massachusetts in July to rehearse and perform two one-acts in the KO Festival. I think the best way to summarize what I learned at the Conservatory is that I went from thinking, ‘I want to be an actor,’ to knowing, ‘I am an actor.’ I feel confident in my abilities, and this changes everything about the way that I pursue work. I have a physical and vocal warm-up that works well for me and that I use to prepare for auditions, rehearsals, and performances. I know now how to prepare and how to keep text fresh and alive once I’ve “nailed it” once. All of this has made the process of auditioning so much less of a mystery… I’d recommend the Conservatory to any young actor who’s serious and passionate.

Jenna Hoff

Jenna Hoff

All of the vocal and physical training we did enabled me to see how much freedom and availability are possible, which raised my expectations of myself. But for the first time I felt that I had the tools to move forward with those expectations. I can hone, clarify and broaden my Shakespeare monologues (and other pieces, too!), and I gained moreAll of the vocal and physical training we did enabled me to see how much freedom and availability are possible, which raised my expectations of myself. But for the first time I felt that I had the tools to move forward with those expectations. I can hone, clarify and broaden my Shakespeare monologues (and other pieces, too!), and I gained so much confidence, which is perhaps the most important thing. People have asked me where I ‘got so good at Shakespeare’ and I happily recommend the training programs at S&Co because I honestly think that they are some of the best training available in this country

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Shakespeare & Company is a professional live theatre company in the heart of the Berkshires, presenting a vibrant summer performance season featuring the works of Shakespeare in repertory with classic and contemporary plays. The Company offers one of the most extensive actor training programs by a regional theatre in the country, and is also home to an award-winning and nationally recognized theatre-in-education program.

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