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Shakespeare and Company Actor Training


The Heart of Shakespeare & Company

Associate Director of Training Dave Demke with Month-Long Intensive participants.

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 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.

The heart of our training is framed around discovering answers to three fundamental questions at the core of Shakespeare’s work: What does it mean to be alive? How should we act? What must I do?

The power of Shakespeare & Company’s training lies in the depth and breadth of its training. 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.

A Layered Approach

SPI participant Susannah Millonzi as Phebe in As You Like It, 2004

Shakespeare & Company’s faculty, led by Master Teachers Tina Packer and Dennis Krausnick, has developed and refined the Company’s training over the nearly three decades of the organization’s existence. These artist-teachers, many of whom began their professional lives at Shakespeare & Company, also continue their work in universities, theatre conservatories, and professional training organizations around the world.

The will power and commitment necessary to speak Shakespeare text in a way that fully involves the audience demands that the actor draw upon inner reserves they may never have touched before. Artists are often introduced to the Company through the Weekend Intensive (either in Lenox or a number of cities across the country), and often continue their training in the acclaimed Month-Long Intensive.

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.

Respected Alumni

Alumni now number over 1,800 from some 20 countries. Past participants include actors from Moscow Arts Theatre, the Berliner Ensemble, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre of Great Britain, The Shakespeare Festival of Stratford, Ontario, the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble, and regional theatres and Shakespeare festivals across the U.S..

In addition, actors as diverse in range and background as Karen Allen, Lauren Ambrose, Gillian Barge, Alicia Coppola, Richard Cox, Rebecca DeMornay, Richard Dreyfuss, Peter Firth, Karen Glazzer, Jennifer Grant, Christine Lahti, Andie MacDowell, Maureen McCormick, Joe Morton, Bill Murray, Bronson Pinchot, Oliver Platt, Diana Quick, Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Rubin, Jane Sibery, Anna Deavere Smith, R.H. Thompson, Courtney Vance, and Sigourney Weaver have also participated.