2020 Apprentice Program: June 14-August 9, 2020
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 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 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 the Apprentice’s Actor’s Equity Association Membership should they choose.
Questions? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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 races, ethnicities, gender identities, and abilities are strongly encouraged to audition.
Our program is built on three founding principles of our company:
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 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.
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.
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.
Apprentice Alicia Hartz ’19 created a video montage chronicling the Summer of 2019!
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 week during this half of the program which may be a weekday or weekend depending.
In the middle of July, Apprentices will begin their work on the Boston Common. The day off will move 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 final weeks of the program, we will tech and present our Showcase Performance productions at an indoor theater venue in downtown Boston and classes and training will culminate in presentation of monologues and scene work.
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.
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)
2019 Apprentice Alumna
“My time at CSC was an absolute dream. What a journey it was! I met some of the most incredible people, who are now friends, colleagues and mentors. I was pushed to my limits, but in a way that helped show me my strength and ability. The support shown by everyone around me helped to elevate me as an actor, an artist, and a human! I got to play Helena in Midsummer and I even went on as an understudy, making my Equity debut with Cymbeline. I feel prepared and energized for the next step in my acting career, and I feel that way because of CSC. I have nothing but gratitude for the people that I was with, the work I was able to do, and the magical experiences that I had.
2019 Apprentice Alumnus
“From day one I aimed to push the boundaries of what I knew to be true in the work, and learn something new about it. In turn I ended up learning so much about myself. Working in All’s Well That Ends Well as Bertram was a mountain to climb, because the language was so difficult and he’s a really tricky character in general. The CSC team, from teachers, coaches, and even the actors on the main stage were always there to lend an attentive hand to help me along the way. The family bond here is so strong that it is impossible to fall through the cracks, and instead, you may feel the village elevate you as a whole! The best aspect of course, is all the amazing people you meet. It was invigorating to be surrounded by industry professionals, but even more so to be in a creative space of apprentices who are so talented and dedicated. It really infuses the joy of the profession into you, and leaves you walking away instilling the belief that you and everyone around you deserves to be doing this!”
Alexandra Lin Holden
2018 Apprentice Alumna
“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.”
2017 Apprentice Alumnus
“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!”
2017 Apprentice Alumna
“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.”
2016 Apprentice Alumnus, 2017 CSC2 Company Member, Shakespeare on the Common 2017, Romeo & Juliet (Gregory)
“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!”
Core classes for Apprentices include training in Text Analysis and Voice. Instructors will independently teach fundamentals crucial to unlocking Shakespeare’s language.
The first half of this class will focus on textual conventions used in Shakespeare’s plays, including meter, punctuation and rhetoric, with a strong focus on speaking Shakespeare’s language for maximum clarity and connection within the body. This work (drawn from Cicely Berry, Giles Block, Laban and others) 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 synthesizing our voice, text, and physical work in partnered, self-directed scene work. Facilitated peer-based feedback will use Liz Lerman’s Critical Response Process.
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.
Associate Artistic Director of CSC/Academy Director/Showcase Director
Bryn is an award-winning director, actor, educator and producer. Recent work includes: Universe Rushing Apart: Blue Kettle & Here We Go, two one-act plays by Caryl Churchill for CSC (Elliot Norton Award, Outstanding Director, Large Theater); Admissions by Joshua Harmon (The Gamm Theatre, Providence); The Children by Lucy Kirkwood (Speakeasy Stage); an all-female production of Julius Caesar for Actors’ Shakespeare Project, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (CSC2). 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). Proud member of Actor’s Equity Association since 2002. She is a Visiting Lecturer at Salem State University who teaches Acting, Voice for the Actor, Applied Movement, and Directing, among others.
CSC Artistic Programs Manager/Academy Coordinator/Showcase Director
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.
Paul D’Agostino joined Boston Conservatory at Berklee in 2014, and currently serves as an assistant professor of theater, specializing in voice & speech and The Alexander Technique. Designated to teach by world-renowned voice pedagogue and theater artist Kristin Linklater, he has taught on the faculties of Emerson College, Gordon College, and Boston University – where he taught in the Summer Theatre Institute for six years. Since 2013, D’Agostino has been the resident voice instructor for Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, which has afforded him the opportunity to teach in the Summer Apprentice Program, coach mainstage actors, and offer workshops on the intersection of actor training and public speaking for M.B.A. candidates at Babson College. A longtime member of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts, he directed the youth training program Riotous Youth, taught in the Month-long Intensive, and acted in numerous productions on the main stage and on tour. He’s also taught workshops at Brandeis University, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Extension School, MIT, Wheelock Family Theatre, and the ReachArts Center in Swampscott, Massachusetts.
His acting credits include work with acclaimed director Irina Brook, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Hanover Theatre, North Shore Music Theatre, SpeakEasy Stage Company, Gloucester Stage Company, The Devanaughn Theatre, and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre.
D’Agostino holds an M.F.A. in theater education (with a concentration in voice and speech) from Boston University, an M.M. in musical theater from The Boston Conservatory, and a B.A. in theater arts from Gordon College. Additional training includes seminars on vocal health and rehabilitation at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary; extensive study at Shakespeare & Company with Kevin Coleman, Tina Packer, and Dennis Krausnick; Alexander Technique with Debra Adams, Jamee Culbertson, Tommy Thompson, Bob Lada, and Betsy Polatin; and Linklater apprenticeship under master teacher Paula Langton at Boston University. In 2019, he graduated from The Boston Conservatory Alexander Technique Teacher Training Course — a three-year, 1600-hour teacher training program.
He currently resides in Swampscott, Massachusetts, where he maintains a private studio for voice & acting coaching, Alexander Technique, and public speaking.
Apprentices will also receive weekly monologue and scene coaching from members of CSC2 (CSC’s advanced actor training program for post-graduate actors) as part of a 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
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 The Tempest.
Our annual performance on the Boston Common sees upwards of 50,000 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
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 will offer free public performances at an indoor venue in downtown Boston 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.
2020 Academy Showcase titles to be announced.
Some apprentices will be assigned an understudy role for the 2020 Shakespeare on the Common performance of The Tempest. Understudy duties include attending specific main stage rehearsals and understudies may also be called on 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 (regardless of understudy assignment) who wishes to observe during their 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 for the 2020 Apprentice Program is $3,000.00.
Students who apply and are accepted for our early bird deadline (March 16, 2020) and pay their non-refundable $600.00 tuition deposit by (date TBA) will receive a $200.00 tuition discount.
All tuition payments are non-refundable.
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.
Information on housing details and costs for Summer 2020 will be announced soon.
Questions about applying? Email us at email@example.com
This year we are offering two application deadlines:
- Early Bird Deadline: March 16, 2020
- Regular Admission Deadline: April 20, 2020
Applicants will be notified about acceptance decisions within approximately one week of the deadline as long as all required materials have been submitted.
*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 non-refundable $600.00 tuition deposit on time.
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– Password Required to Access: Apprentice2020. Fees may apply. Payment may also be sent via check made out to “Commonwealth Shakespeare Company” to the following address:
Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
101 Arch Street
Boston, MA 02110
ATTN: Apprentice Program
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:
CSC will hold three local auditions in Boston during spring. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to request a time slot for one of these audition days.
- February 22, 2020
- March 15, 2020
- April 11, 2020
New England Theater Conference Annual Auditions:
The NETC Auditions are an annual general audition call that we will attend. Please visit the link to learn more about how to sign up for these auditions:
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 Annual Auditions
The StageSource Auditions are an annual general audition call that we will attend. Please visit the link to learn more about how to sign up for these auditions:
Please email us if you plan to audition at StageSource so that we can look out for you at these auditions.
While an in-person audition is always preferred if you are able to travel to one of the above opportunities, we will accept video auditions from applicants who cannot attend one of our in-person auditions. Please email a link or files to email@example.com. Applicants who audition by video may also be asked to do a follow up interview by phone or video chat.
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 the same as our other application materials. Applicants will be notified about financial aid offers with their acceptance decision.
In addition, CSC is offering one work-study position for summer 2020.
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 Director of Marketing 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 2020 program.
The deadline to apply for this position is April 20, 2020. Applicants will be notified within two weeks of this deadline.