Apprentice Program

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

 2020 Apprentice Program:

DUE TO THE ONGOING EFFECTS OF COVID-19,  WE HAVE MOVED OUR 2020 PROGRAM TO A VIRTUAL PROGRAM. ENROLLMENT FOR THIS PROGRAM IS FULL AT THIS TIME. WE WILL RELEASE UPDATED INFORMATION AND APPLICATION MATERIALS FOR THE SUMMER 2021 PROGRAM IN JANUARY 2021.

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 apprentice@commshakes.org

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 races, ethnicities, gender identities, and abilities are strongly encouraged to audition.

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 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.

What will my experience be like?

Apprentice Alicia Hartz ’19 created a video montage chronicling the Summer of 2019!

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 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.

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)

Molly Minter

2019 Apprentice Alumna

Molly as “Helena” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, 2019. Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva

“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.

Alcides Costa

2019 Apprentice Alumnus

Alcides Costa as “Bertram” in All’s Well That Ends Well, 2019. Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva

“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

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

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 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.

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

Bryn Boice

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. 

Victoria Townsend

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

Voice Teacher

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.

Additional Training

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

2019 Apprentices Molly Minter, Karen Shantz, and Jackie McCarthy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Madelyn Elyse Levine and Alcides Costa in All’s Well That Ends Well, 2019. Photo by Evgenia Eliseeva

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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

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

Tuition for the 2020 Apprentice Program is $3,000.00.

Students who apply and are accepted for our early bird deadline (Extended! March 31, 2020) and pay their non-refundable $600.00 tuition deposit by (April 13, 2020) 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. In addition, limited work-study opportunities for tuition credit may be available, Please see the Apply tab for more information on these opportunities.

Housing

This year’s housing is at Emerson College. Total cost for the summer is $3,670.00 (This amount includes a $250.00 security deposit which will be returned after the program once your room has been cleared of any damage costs by Emerson College). Emerson’s housing price includes breakfast as well as other basic amenities. Move in will occur the morning of June 14th, 2020 and move out the morning of August 10th, 2020. It is not required to live on campus though it is encouraged for students living more than an hour from Boston or those with travel considerations. The dormitories are within walking distance to all our program activities and CSC does not provide parking or public transportation for students. While we do not anticipate running out of housing space at this time, please note housing is granted on a first come, first served basis.

Apply

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

Questions about applying? Email us at apprentice@commshakes.org 

DUE TO THE ONGOING EFFECTS OF COVID-19,  WE HAVE MOVED OUR 2020 PROGRAM TO A VIRTUAL PROGRAM. ENROLLMENT FOR THIS PROGRAM IS FULL AT THIS TIME. WE WILL RELEASE UPDATED INFORMATION AND APPLICATION MATERIALS FOR THE SUMMER 2021 PROGRAM IN JANUARY 2021.

 

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