Apprentice Program

The cast of The Tempest, Apprentice Program, 2017. Photo by Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots.

Thank you for your interest in our Apprentice Program. We will post new information about the 2019 program in January 2019.

The CSC Apprentice Program is an intensive summer training program for young actors who are actively pursuing a career in theatre.  This eight week training runs concurrently with CSC’s signature event, Free Shakespeare on the Common, founded in 1996 by Artistic Director Steve Maler and his vision that Shakespeare “belongs and should be accessible to everyone.” 

The apprenticeship offers a robust Shakespearean performance focus through professionally directed productions held in and around Boston.  CSC faculty support the work in the rehearsal room through classes in voice and text analysis.  At the beginning of the program, we work with each apprentice to identify personal goals and track these together with faculty and staff throughout the summer.  Apprentices will also bring their skills and enthusiasm to audience engagement and front-of-house work on the Boston Common where they are an integral part of the production’s success. In addition, our program offers 7 EMC points towards Apprentice’s Actor’s Equity Association Membership should they choose. 

Questions? Contact us at [email protected]

What do you look for in an apprentice? Is this program right for me?

We consider a variety of factors when selecting members of our Apprentice Company.  First and foremost, we are looking for actors who have demonstrated a serious commitment to the study of acting and are interested in pursuing theater-arts as a career.

Apprentices must be 18 years of age and completed at least one year of undergraduate (or equivalent) training or have similar pre-professional/professional experience. While there is no age limit on the program, typically Apprentices fall between 18-25 years of age.  Actors of all genders, minorities, and people with disabilities are encouraged to apply.

Our program is built on three founding principles of our company:

Access

Actors are a part of CSC’s community engagement with our diverse audiences, both through our Apprentice Ambassador work on the Boston Common and the opportunities provided by our touring Showcase Productions.  Sometimes this engagement takes the form of performance and sometimes by conversation and service.  We believe that each of these are useful tools for the artist who strives to make theater, and Shakespeare in particular, accessible for all.

Excellence

We look for actors who demonstrate a strong work ethic and show promise to be positive and reliable collaborators with their peers and faculty.  Actors should have enough training/experience to be challenged, but not lost in our advanced classes and who are willing to work at a professional pace, coming prepared to every class and rehearsal and who will set personal goals for their own work.

Education

Thinking critically about how Shakespeare and classical acting training fits into their overall acting training, either as a new practice or building on previous skills is important.  We look for actors who can articulate specific professional goals and use the resources at CSC (including connections with our CSC2 and professional companies) to fit into these plans. Actors who listen and share their learning process with each other is a key element in making the experience a valuable and worthwhile experience.

Where will I train?

Since 2013, CSC has been the theater in residence at Babson College in Wellesley, MA with rehearsals and classes taking place at the beautiful Sorenson Center for the Arts.  Throughout the program, you will split your time between Wellesley and our outdoor performing space on the Boston Common.  Dorm housing at Babson College is available for rental at an additional cost.  See the tuition and housing tab for more details on program costs and options.

 

What will my experience be like?

Check out Braley Degenhardt ‘16’s video documenting her time in the program!

What will my schedule be like?

The Apprentice Program is designed to be a fully-immersive training program.  Apprentices are involved in multiple aspects of our company, and no two weeks’ schedules are exactly alike.  In the program’s first half you will attend daily sessions of classes or rehearsals.  Your day will generally begin between 9-10am and end between 5-7pm.  You will usually have 1-2 days off in the middle of the week (Wednesday/Thursday) during this half of the program.

In the middle of July, Apprentices will begin their work on the Boston Common.  The day-off will switch to Mondays, and the other six days will be split between rehearsals for The Apprentice Showcase and work on the Boston Common as Audience Ambassadors.  Work on the Common is scheduled until about 11pm.  In the last two weeks of the program, we will tech and tour our Showcase Performance productions in the Boston and Greater-Boston area.

The programs’ schedule is rigorous but highly rewarding for students who are committed to their training, and is intended to be a full-time commitment.  Though some past students have found time for minimal freelance work, Apprentices are generally not encouraged to have outside commitments during the program.

Alumni Testimonials

Eliott Purcell

2013 Apprentice Alumnus, , 2015 CSC2 Company Member, Shakespeare on the Common 2013, Two Gentlemen of Verona (Ensemble), Shakespeare on the Common 2015, King Lear (Soldier), Old Money (Ovid & Tobias)

Caitlin McQuade

2018 Apprentice Alumna

Caitlin as “Duchess” in Henry VI, Part II, 2018. Photo by Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

“I truly did not expect to see such discernible growth in my acting and confidence after eight weeks, but that’s what came with the challenge of wearing many hats, and the mentorship of an incredible staff, the CSC2 company, and fellow apprentices.   I learned how to both work hard and be kind to myself.  With the incredibly talented and hardworking company of my fellow apprentices as my scene partners, cast mates, classmates, and coworkers, I felt surrounded by people who were genuinely rooting for me both as an actor and a person.  I cannot imagine a more rewarding summer!”

Alexandra Lin Holden

2018 Apprentice Alumna

Alexandra as “Margaret” in Henry VI, Part III, 2018. Photo by Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

“My time at CSC as an apprentice has completely transformed how I view myself as an artist and a human being. I am forever grateful for the opportunities that everyone at CSC gave me. For the first time in my early career as an actress, I felt like I was not only capable, but worthy of tackling challenges head on, no matter how difficult they seemed. Truth be told, I was worried that I would discover I’d been pushed to my limits as a performer, but the people at CSC are so compassionate, supportive, and inspiring that I couldn’t help but feel compelled to rise to the occasion. I am indebted to folks that keep CSC running; they revived my dedication to this craft. Plus, it’s a whole summer of Shakespeare! Please, everyone, give CSC a shot. It will change your life.”

Sharmarke Yusuf

2017 Apprentice Alumnus

Sharmarke as “Ferdinand” in The Tempest. 2017. Photo by Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

“I am so grateful to have been able to spend my summer in CSC’s Apprentice Program. My experience as an apprentice was truly life changing. I grew so much as an actor and as a person during my time in the program. It was seriously refreshing to be in such a supportive environment and surrounded by people who care immensely about art and collaboration. I learned so much in the classes we took, got to understudy a role in Romeo & Juliet on the Boston Common and performed in our touring production of The Tempest. I gained such a love and appreciation for Shakespeare and his texts while I was here and formed friendships with an amazing group of people who I know will go on to accomplish great things! I am so happy to be a part of this wonderful family. Thank you CSC for the best summer of my life so far!”

Catherine Newell

2017 Apprentice Alumna

Catherine as “Poins” in Henry IV, pt I. 2017. Photo by Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

“My CSC Apprenticeship was truly trans-formative. I came into my eight weeks as an Apprentice questioning every acting choice I made, and I left with the confidence to identify and fix what I feel needs work, and to acknowledge when I’ve done well. Through our classes in voice and Shakespearean text, I was exposed to methods, such as Linklater voice work, that filled me with new ideas for creating characters both Shakespearean and contemporary. But what I’ll cherish above all from my time at CSC is the connections I made to wonderful people, who supported each other to the point where things that could have been terrifying – like understudying Samson in Romeo and Juliet on the Boston Common – were the best experiences of my life.”

Jamil Joseph

2016 Apprentice Alumnus, 2017 CSC2 Company Member, Shakespeare on the Common 2017, Romeo & Juliet (Gregory)

Jamil as “Claudio” in Measure for Measure, 2016. Photo by Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

“My experience as an apprentice is something I will cherish forever.  Every moment, from the first day you go around meeting fellow apprentices and CSC2 members, to the day the program ends and you say your goodbyes, is a learning experience.  The intense program pushes and builds you not only as an actor but as a person.  Under the direction of the extremely talented and engaging teachers and directors we get to work with, I was able to engage with my peers in a fun, collaborative, safe, and non-judgmental environment.  Through this program I was able to genuinely fall in love with the works of Shakespeare more and more.  Overall, because of the Apprentice Program, I have grown drastically in my acting, as a person, but most importantly I formed bonds with a group of people that have left an imprint on my life.  Thank you CSC!”

Training in Wellesley

Anthony Rapp conducts a musical theater workshop, 2010

Core classes for Apprentices include training in Text Analysis and Voice.  Instructors will independently teach fundamentals crucial to unlocking Shakespeare’s language.

Shakespeare’s Text

The first half of this class will focus on textual conventions from the quarto and folio editions of Shakespeare’s plays including meter, punctuation and rhetoric with a strong focus on hearing Shakespeare’s language as well as speaking it.  This work (drawn from Cicely Berry and Giles Block) and will help students to see these conventions not as rules that dictate how Shakespeare should be performed, but rather as opportunities for experimentation and play.  The second half of this class will focus on using the architecture in partnered, self-directed scene work.  Facilitated peer-based feedback will use Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process.

Voice

Following Kristin Linklater’s method of “Freeing the Natural Voice, “ students are guided through a progression of exercises designed to free, strengthen, and develop their whole vocal range.  The majority of classroom focus explores physical awareness, breathing, resonance, and the connection of voice to emotional and imaginative impulse.  Additional coursework addresses vocal health, building a reliable and personal warm-up, and applications of the technique to Shakespeare’s text.

Faculty Bios

Adam Sanders

Academy Director/Showcase Director

Adam is the Associate Artistic Director at Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, theater-in-residence at Babson College. He serves as director of the Apprentice Program, and is the director and originator of CSC2, a cohort of early-career actors. Directing credits for CSC include: Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Julius Caesar (CSC2 Company), Symphonic Shakespeare, (in collaboration with Boston Landmarks Orchestra at the Boston Hatch Shell); co-director: Kiss Me Kate, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and The Boys From Syracuse (also BLO/Hatch Shell collaborations), co-director/dramaturg: Shakespeare and Leadership (2013 – 2017), and CSCs unprecedented Shakespeare at Fenway performance in 2014; director: Shakespeare and the Law (2017). At Babson College, Adam is the Associate Director of the Sorenson Center for the Arts where he supports the artistic development of undergraduate students within a business focused curriculum. Adam holds a Master of Arts in theater education from Emerson College and is a Master of Business Administration candidate at Babson College.

Victoria Townsend

Academy Coordinator

Victoria is a Boston-based director, teaching-artist and occasional performer. In addition to her work on artistic programing for CSC, she also serves as the Academy Coordinator for the Apprentice Program and CSC2 as well as work on many other educational programs. Directing Credits: Emerging Playwright’s Festival (Wheelock Family Theater), Cosi Fan Tutte New England Conservatory’s UGOS Program, The Memorandum (Flat Earth Theater). Assistant Directing Credits: Fear and Misery in the Third Reich, Kiss me Kate, Romeo and Juliet and Shakespeare and Leadership (CSC) and L’Egisto (NEC/UGOS). She has also served as a teaching-artist for Watertown Children’s Theater and Live Arts Education. A Massachusetts native, Victoria currently resides in Woburn and is a graduate of Saint Michael’s College in Vermont with a degrees in Theatre and English Literature.

Bryn Boice

Showcase Director

Bryn is a freelance director working in Boston and New York, and is the artistic director of the Boston-based ensemble Anthem Theatre Company, now a Resident Performing Arts Company at Boston Center for the Arts. Recent work with Anthem includes: her devised protest play, I, Snowflake; Twelfth Night of the Living Dead; Romeo VS. Juliet; The Comedy of Errors (adapted for four); and her original Irish play with song, The Merry Way. Directing credits include the lauded all-female production of Julius Caesar for Actors’ Shakespeare Project, and the upcoming Red Velvet by Lolita Chakrabarti (playing in June in the BCA Plaza Theatre, Boston). New York and Regional credits as actor and/or director include work with Asolo Repertory Company, Boston Playwrights’ Theater, InProximity Theatre Company, Theatre Row, Rebellious Subjects, Monomoy Theatre, Caroline’s on Broadway, and Manhattan Theatre Club. Bryn holds an MFA in Directing from Boston University and an MFA in Acting from the Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training (FSU). She is a Visiting Lecturer at Salem State University in Voice for the Actor, Directing, and Dramatic Criticism, among others.

Paul D’Agostino

Voice Teacher

Paul is a Boston-based actor and Designated Linklater Teacher, trained by world-renowned voice teacher and theater artist, Kristin Linklater. In addition to his full-time work at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee, he has served on the faculties of Emerson College, Gordon College, and Boston University, where he continues to teach in the Summer Theatre Institute. Since 2013, Paul has been the resident voice instructor for Commonwealth Shakespeare Company in residence at Babson College, where he teaches voice in the Summer Apprentice Program and offers workshops throughout the year for MBA candidates on the intersection of public speaking and voice training for actors. He’s also given workshops at Wheelock Family
Theatre, Brandeis University, and Boston Arts Academy, among others. Before relocating to the Boston area, Paul worked extensively with Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, MA, where he directed the youth training program, Riotous Youth, and acted in numerous productions on the main stage and on tour. Acting credits include work with acclaimed director, Irina Brook, The Hanover Theater, North Shore Music Theater, Speakeasy Stage Company, Gloucester Stage, The Devanaughn Theatre, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, and the Metro Stage Company. He holds at Bachelor of Arts in theater arts from Gordon College, a Master of Fine Arts in theatre education (voice & speech) from Boston University, and a Master of Music in musical theater from The Boston Conservatory. Additional training includes seminars on vocal health at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, the Month-long Intensive at Shakespeare & Company with Tina Packer and Dennis Krausnick, Alexander Technique with Debra Adams and Betsy Polatin, and Linklater apprenticeship with Paula Langton and Christine Hamel at Boston University. He is currently enrolled in the Alexander Technique Teacher Training Course at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee.

 

Additional Training

Apprentices will also receive weekly monologue coaching from members of CSC2 (CSC’s advanced actor training program for MFA-level actors) as part of cross-mentorship program.  Academy staff will work with you and your coach to select and develop new material to strengthen your Shakespearean audition arsenal and expand your classical range.

In addition, Apprentices will engage in a weekly company conversation series, meeting with members of the professional artistic company to discuss their artistic process for the summer’s production as well as larger career questions.

Interspersed during the program, guest teachers and artists will share their work and expertise in short masterclass opportunities.  These offerings are unique to the artists currently working with CSC each year, but past topics have included: clowning, improvisation, musical theater, auditioning for the camera, stage combat, voice over and yoga for the actor.

On the Boston Common- Richard III

2018 Apprentices on the Boston Common.

A major piece of training with CSC means being a part of the Company’s core values of audience access and engagement.  Every member of our team, from Artistic Director to our volunteers becomes an important part of this mission during the summer. this year’s Shakespeare on the Common title is Richard III.

Our annual performance on the Boston Common sees upwards of 75,000 audience members in only three and a half weeks.  These audiences come from all backgrounds and abilities with one thing in common, a desire to participate in the arts.  The show is free and for many it is the only piece of theater they can afford to see during the year.

Our audiences tend to arrive between two and three hours before the curtain goes up, offering us a wonderful opportunity to engage with them on a deeper level than most theater companies can.  Every apprentice will have opportunities as an Audience Ambassador for about half our performances.  Apprentices will assist with typical front-of-house duties such as ushering, concession/merchandise sales and site setup/breakdown.  You’ll be trained in best inclusion practices to help keep our show accessible to audience members of all abilities.

However, audience engagement on the Boston Common is about more than the customer service.  As part of our cross-education with our professional company, you’ll meet each week with a different member of the production team (actors, designers, etc.) to hear their take on the play and gain better insight into their process.  Armed with this information and your unique perspective as an artist and performer, you’ll engage with the audiences to answer questions and begin conversations, helping to deepen their understanding and experience of the play.

To spark these conversations, you’ll perform right in a portion of that massive audience in a time-honored theater tradition called “The Greenshow”, a 3-5 minute pop up pre-performance piece. This playful, guerrilla performance style will give you invaluable performance experience in our outdoor, non-traditional space and offer an immediate opportunity to engage with the audience about the company and your work.  For the audience, these short performance pieces help create a more intimate experience of Shakespeare’s text and themes allowing them a richer understanding of the main-stage production.

Performing in Boston, Wellesley, and Beyond

Torreke Evans (Henry) and Billie Wyatt (Oxford) in Henry IV, part III, Apprentice Program, 2018. Photo by Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots.

Henry VI, Part II
Directed by Bryn Boice
Performed by the 2018 Commonwealth Shakespeare Company Apprentice Company
July 26, 7:00 PM; Babson College, Sorenson Center for the Arts, Wellesley
July 28, 2:00 PM; Boston Center for the Arts, Plaza Theater, Boston*
July 29, 7:30 PM; Hyde Community Center, Newton**
August 1, 6:00 PM; Massachusetts Horticultural Society, Wellesley**

Henry VI, Part III
Directed by Adam Sanders
Performed by the 2018 Commonwealth Shakespeare Company Apprentice Company
July 27, 7:00 PM; Babson College, Sorenson Center for the Arts, Wellesley
July 29, 2:00 PM; Boston Center for the Arts, Plaza Theater, Boston*
August 2, 6:30 PM; Brookline Public Library, Brookline**
August 5, 7:30 PM; Hyde Community Center, Newton**

All performances are free and open to the public. **These performances are outdoor performances. Please bring your own seating and/or picnic!

Tim Colee (Earl of Worcester), Henry IV, part I, 2017. Photo by Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

Training in the Apprentice Program culminates with “The Academy Showcase”.  Our company will form two casts who each perform a professionally-directed Shakespeare production.  These two productions are rehearsed and perform at the Carling-Sorenson Theater at Babson College in Wellesley and also tour to locations in Boston and the Greater-Boston area in the last weeks of the program.  Auditions/casting for specific roles in these productions will occur shortly after the program begins.  The Academy Showcase relies heavily on ensemble-based storytelling.

Some apprentices will be assigned an understudy role for the 2018 Shakespeare on the Common performance of Richard III.  Understudy duties include attending specific main stage rehearsals and understudies may also be called on to work with our choreographer to help create/rehearse movement sequences for the production.  Apprentice understudies are prepared to fill in during rehearsal or performances should an actor be unable to for any reason.  Apprentices assigned understudy roles are not called to every rehearsal and the rehearsal room is open to any member of the Apprentice Company who wishes to observe during her/his free time.

Understudy assignments alongside your audience engagement work on the Boston Common allow apprentices to gain a thorough introduction to the Actor’s Equity Association.  All Apprentice Company members are able to earn 7 EMC points for their work with us during the summer should they choose.

Tuition

Nicholas Talbot (York) in Henry VI, part II, Apprentice Program, 2018. Photo by Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots.

Tuition for the 2018 Apprentice Program is $2,600.00.

Students who apply and are accepted for our early bird deadline (March 1, 2018) and pay their $600.00 tuition deposit by March 30, 2018 will receive a $200.00 tuition discount.

CSC is also able to offer a limited amount of financial aid to Apprentices each year, Typically scholarships range from quarter to half tuition credits. In addition, limited work-study opportunities for tuition credit may be available, Please see the Apply tab for more information on these opportunities.

Housing

Dormitory housing at Babson College is available for rental for an additional cost. This year’s housing rate is $1,950.00 for the duration of the program. Living on campus is optional for Apprentices but is recommended for any Apprentice living more than an hour from Wellesley, MA due to the program’s rigorous schedule. Housing is assigned on a first-come, first-serve basis. Should the housing fill, a wait-list will be kept.

Apprentices who elect to live on campus will be housed in CSC’s company dormitory, Woodland 9 which is a short walk from the theater and other campus buildings. Rooms are double-occupancy. Each room has its own bathroom and kitchenette. Access to laundry is also available in the building. Free parking is available on campus to any student with a car.

Single-occupancy rooms may be requested and are available on a very limited basis for an additional cost of $350.00.

Apply

 

Alexandra Lin Holden (Margaret) in Henry VI, part III, Apprentice Program, 2018. Photo by Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots.

Thank you for your interest in our Apprentice Program. We will post application and audition information about the 2019 program in January 2019.

Questions about applying? Email us at [email protected] 

Application Deadlines

This year we are offering three application deadlines:

  • To Be Announced

Applicants will be notified about acceptance decisions within approximately one week of the deadline as long as all required materials have been submitted. We encourage interested applicants to apply to the earliest deadline possible as our program may fill in advance of our final deadline.

*Applicants who apply by our early bird deadline and are accepted into the program will receive a tuition discount of $200.oo if they pay their $600.00 tuition deposit on time.

Application Requirements

We require the following materials to consider an applicant for acceptance into our Apprentice Program:

  • Audition (see below for more information)
  • Application Form
  • Recommendation Form – Please send this link to a director, professor or other professional who can speak to your work as an actor.
  • $35.00 non-refundable Application Fee– This may be paid online at the button below (fees apply) or by sending a check made out to “Commonwealth Shakespeare Company” and mailed to: Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Attn: Apprentice Program, Sorenson Center, Trim 216, Babson Park, MA 02457

Audition Opportunities

We require one audition consisting of two monologues, one Shakespeare (preferably in verse) and one contemporary- each preferably under two minutes.

CSC has several opportunities throughout the spring for applicants to audition:

 KCACTF

If you or your school attend the annual Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, we will be participating in the following regions’ Next Step Auditions.

NETC

Please email us if you plan to audition at NETCs so that we can look out for you at these auditions. We will be holding callback sessions onsite so you may show us additional work if we will not see all of your required material within your audition slot.

Stagesource

Please email us if you plan to audition at Stagesource so that we can look out for you at these auditions.

Local Auditions

We will be holding several local audition dates at Babson College in Wellesley, MA throughout the spring.

Video Submissions

While an in-person audition is always preferred, we will accept video auditions from applicants who cannot attend one of our in-person auditions. Please email a link or files to [email protected]. Applicants who audition by video may also be asked to do a follow up interview by phone or video chat.

Financial Aid

Scholarships

CSC is able to offer a limited number of scholarships to students demonstrating financial need. If you wish to apply for financial aid please use the application below:

The deadline for this form is TBD for regular admission applicants. Applicants will be notified about financial aid offers within two weeks of these deadlines.

Work-study

In addition, CSC is offering one work-study position for summer 2019.

Apprentice Marketing Work-study:

The Apprentice Marketing Work-study will be responsible creating content for CSC’s Apprentice Program social media throughout the summer. Primarily, this will be through creating dynamic postings for the Apprentice Program Facebook page. In addition, the Marketing Work-study will work with CSC’s Marketing Intern to create 1-2 short videos about the Apprentice Program. Additional ideas or projects may arise during the summer depending on the candidate’s skill set and bandwidth. This position will require a few pre-program meetings which may be by phone for a non-local candidate and between 2-4 hours of work per week outside of the program’s regular schedule. Interested candidates should have strong social media skills. Familiarity with video creation and editing a plus.

This work-study will receive a $400.00 credit towards tuition for the 2019 program.

The deadline to apply for this position is TBD.  Applicants will be notified within two weeks of this deadline.

 

 


Featured Photo: Amber Walker (Queen Margaret) and Clara Hevia (Suffolk) in Henry VI, part II, Apprentice Program 2018. Photo by Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots.

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