For our annual spotlight on summer training programs in the theatrical arts, Back Stage and Back Stage West have combined their efforts in order to cast as wide a geographical net as possible across the great continent of North America. Twenty-nine far-flung writers cover, in varying degrees of depth, nearly 140 programs for actors, writers, designers, technicians, administrators, and more, located in 34 of the 49 continental states and Canada. Included are summer stock internship and apprenticeship programs, training programs geared toward theatrical professionals, and even summer camps for children. Whether you are looking to break into the business, sharpen your already considerable skills, or jump-start the career of your brilliantly talented issue, you should be able to find a program to fill your bill-and quite possibly even in your own back yard.
Canada Massachusetts Connecticut New Jersey
New Hampshire Rhode Island New York Pennsylvania
By Jon Kaplan
SOULPEPPER THEATRE COMPANY
Soulpepper Theatre Company, Toronto's classical repertory company, includes as part of its mandate a training program for young theatre artists. In 2000, Soulpepper established its first young company, whose members performed alongside senior actors in "Twelfth Night" and "The School for Wives."
Led by master directors-previous directors were Robin Phillips and Laszlo Marton-and members of the Soulpepper company, the month-long program of classes and master classes focuses on training for the classical stage. Participants receive instruction in movement, dance, mask, voice, dialects and accents, Alexander technique, stage combat, singing, and text analysis.
The four-week training sessions begin in mid-May, with productions (TBA) running in the summer months and into the fall. Unlike other programs that charge a fee, Soulpepper's training program subsidizes its participants. Auditions for the young company will be held by the end of February. For more information call (416) 203-6264; the company's website is www.soulpepper.ca.
Theatre Ontario, a central source of information on training, career opportunities, productions, and theatre resources in the province of Ontario, holds its 11th annual summer training program Aug. 12-19 at Brock University, in the Niagara region, near Buffalo, New York.
The adult course includes scene study, acting, two levels of directing, and musical theatre. The children's course offers classes in movement, Shakespeare, fight choreography, acting, and scene study. Both courses are taught by theatre professionals. The adult fee is $750 Canadian (plus taxes), children $630 Canadian (plus taxes). On-campus accommodation is included in the fee. Classes are usually small.
Application deadline is June 1. For more information, contact Theatre Ontario
at 30 St. Patrick St., 2nd floor, Toronto, Ontario, M5T 3A3, or call (416) 408-4556.
The organization's website, which has a section on its summer courses, is .www.theatreontario.org
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By David Frieze
WEATHERVANE REPERTORY THEATRE
The Weathervane Repertory Theatre, an Equity company located in Whitefield, NH, offers accredited, six-day-a-week internships in performance, direction, stage management, scenic design, technical design, instrumental music, choreography, and administration. Students receive specialized instruction in his/her chosen field under the supervision of a professional mentor, with a focus on the techniques and crafts practiced by the Weathervane Theatre in its 36-year history of alternating repertory and open staging. Seminars and workshops in areas such as scenic design, costuming, and performance are conducted by in-house professionals, visiting directors, and guest artists. Interns are also responsible for developing the Patchwork Players-the children's theatre wing of the Weathervane Theatre. During the season, four 55-minute shows are produced; the final show is a completely original collaborative effort, scripted and composed by the interns.
Tuition (including room and board) for the eleven-week program is $1,600. Applications and further information can be obtained by writing to Weathervane Repertory Theatre, P.O. Box 127, Whitefield, NH 03598 (Attn: WPA Intern), or e-mailing the company at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another Equity company, the Peterborough Players in Peterborough, NH, offers internships and apprenticeships to actors and designers for its summer season. Instruction here is strictly hands-on and production-based. Interns work backstage and on stage in the company's six mainstage productions; they also become part of the Second Company, performing in two children's plays (one of them on the mainstage). The season begins on June 4 (the first mainstage show opens on June 20) and runs throughout the summer. Up to 10 EMC points are available.
Interns apply by audition and receive a $75/week stipend plus housing; apprentices are unpaid and apply by form. For more information and applications, contact Keith Stevens, Managing Director, Peterborough Players, P.O. Box 118, Peterborough, NH 03458 (603-924-9344; fax 603-924-6359), or via e-mail at email@example.com .
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By David A. Rosenberg, Esther Tolkoff, and David Frieze
WILLIAMSTOWN THEATRE FESTIVAL
Famous names love playing at the Williamstown Theatre Festival on the Williams College campus in Massachusetts, and youngsters looking for inspiration would have a hard time beating this institution. Last summer's actors included Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Burton, and Eric Stoltz; among the directors were Joe Mantello, Nicholas Martin, and Christopher Ashley. Known as an artist's theatre, performers like James Naughton, Frank Langella, Blythe Danner, Joanne Woodward, and Maria Tucci return year after year to a safe environment in which to stretch their muscles. Many productions have moved on to Broadway, such as last season's "The Price" and the incoming "Hedda Gabler."
Productions are mounted at the 520-seat Adams Memorial Theatre and the 96-seat Nikos Stage (named after the festival's founder, the late Nikos Psacharopoulos). Other productions and events include the outdoor Free Theatre, late-night cabaret evenings of comedy and song, Act I ensemble productions, a new-play reading series, a museum series in conjunction with the college, question and answer discussions, and the Greylock Theatre Project for disadvantaged youth.
Offered are both intern and apprentice programs, which have attracted more than 2,000 individuals since the theatre's founding in 1955. "Both interns and apprentices can apply for college credit," said general manager Deborah Fehr. "They're all here for our 11-week season, staring in May. We do 11 major shows and many small ones. For instance, whoever auditions can be in the cabaret-if they can sing-everybody from apprentices up through the Equity company. They can also audition for plays, although very few actually get cast, unless we're doing a large-cast show."
Internships are administrative or technical positions, not acting. Applicants are asked to choose their area of specialization from among the following: design, technical production, general and company management, directing, box office, publicity, photography, literary management, and community outreach through the Greylock Project. Chosen on the basis of experience, recommendations, and an interview, interns are responsible for their own board and pay $500 for housing at the college. Fellowships are available and college credit may be arranged. Apprenticeships are offered for youngsters (17 is the minimum age) who wish to combine practical work with classes in acting, voice, and movement. Presenting scenes, attending seminars, and working in various technical and administrative departments are all part of a vigorous and demanding schedule. Running from June 3-Aug. 19, the apprentice program costs $2,550 for room and board, plus $450 for classes. A limited number of scholarships are available.
Williamstown is three hours from both Boston and New York in the cultural heart of the Berkshires, an area also home to Tanglewood, Jacob's Pillow, the Berkshire Theatre Festival, Barrington Stage, and Shakespeare & Company. Interns are required to submit two letters of recommendation along with their theatre resumes and a cover letter to Internships, Williamstown Theatre Festival, 229 W. 42nd St., Suite 801, New York, NY 10036.
Apprentices should submit two letters of recommendation, along with a short statement of qualifications and interests, a brief summary of theatre experience, a recent photo, and a non-refundable application fee of $30. Scholarship applicants need to send a statement of need and a detailed description of personal and family financial conditions. Send to Apprentice Admissions at the above address.-D.A.R.
BERKSHIRE THEATRE FESTIVAL
The venerable Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Mass. offers two separate programs that stress individualized attention. There is a summer Performance Training Program for actor/apprentices and an internship program for those interested in behind-the-scenes work. College credit is available, but must be arranged by the student and his or her college in advance.
There are two theatrical spaces at the Festival-the Main Stage, a 415-seat Equity house, which mounts four productions each summer, and the Unicorn Theatre, a 122-seat non-Equity house, at which three plays go up every summer. The Festival also operates the all-apprentice Theatre for Young Audiences, which performs two full-fledged productions for children per summer at such nearby locations as the Berkshire Museum.
In 1930, Katherine Hepburn played bit parts in one of the Festival's earlier incarnations. Major theatrical stars have held leading roles. In recent years, Joanne Woodward taught a master class to apprentices.
According to Allison Rachele, administrative director of education, 15 apprentices are chosen every summer. They must be between the ages of 18 and 25. During the course of the 12-week program, running from June 3-Aug. 26, they take intensive classes every morning. These cover such areas as scene study, voice, movement, improvisation, and stage combat. Master classes are held as well.
Three and a half hours of an apprentice's day are devoted to either rehearsal for a Theatre for Young Audience play or a "BTF" play. Apprentices have the opportunity to audition (if needed-most summers they are) in Unicorn productions. They often understudy Main Stage works and can receive Equity Membership Candidate points for this. This summer, the Main Stage's first production, "HMS Pinafore," will use several apprentices in non-speaking roles. A production of "My Fair Lady" is also planned. The other two productions will be announced in the coming weeks.
The application deadline is April 15. For information, write to either Allison Rachele or Peter Durgin at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, P.O. 797, Stockbridge, MA 01262, or call (413) 298-5536, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org and indicate that the e-mail should be directed to either Rachele or Durgin.
After dinner and before the shows, apprentices staff concession stands, direct the parking of cars, or do backstage work. During the shows, they strike and change the sets.
Applicants perform-or send videotapes of-two contrasting monologues, which should not total more than five minutes in time. "The key thing I look for is range," Rachele stresses. Most applications come in to the theatre, but Rachele will also travel to the North England Theatre Conference in Natick, Mass. and the Southeastern Theatre Conference in Jacksonville, Fla. in search of apprentices.
In addition to preparing their monologues, applicants must write an essay explaining why they want to participate in the program, and describing where they are in their development as actors. They must send a headshot and resume, along with three letters of reference. There is a $20 application fee.
"We try to gear classes to areas apprentices have expressed interest in," says Rachele. "If several people want to work on their voices, we'll make a point of including more voice training."
Tuition for the apprenticeship is $2,300. This includes classes, room and board, and tickets to other nearby cultural events. (The Berkshires is the scene of a lively theatrical and musical community.) Financial aid is available. To apply for help, applicants must send the financial aid forms filled out for their colleges or else inquire as to alternative ways to apply.
The production internship program lasts 14 weeks, from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Production manager Peter Durgin is in charge of this program, in which some 20-25 interns specialize in an area of their choice-stage management, carpentry, scene painting, props, costumes, or electrics and sound. There is one production management intern who learns "coordination" work (of schedules and many other things). In addition, there are three to five general production interns every summer who rotate between all of these areas. Four or five administrative interns are also sought in company management, house management, marketing, accounting, and general administration.
Production interns are almost always college students. Durgin says they should have experience working in their area of interest for college, or other, shows. They should submit an application (no fee) that describes this experience, and include two references. Durgin will then telephone applicants to discuss their experience and their goals. Durgin will also visit the SETC and NETC conferences, as well as a conference at Stage Source in Boston.
Interns do not pay tuition. They work for room and board. Their typical day consists of working in the shops from 9 am-6 pm. Stage management interns take a dinner break and then work with the shows at the Main Stage and the Unicorn. All of the interns take part in the production work for the two children's plays performed by the acting apprentices. It is possible for more experienced stage management interns to acquire Equity Membership Candidate points.-E.T.
BOSTON UNIVERSITY THEATRE INSTITUTE
For non-Equity performers, the Boston University Theatre Institute offers a six-week intensive summer program in acting (improvisation, monologue work, and scene study) and script analysis. Students may choose either movement or singing as electives. There are also workshops in directing, playwriting, Shakespeare performance, stage combat, and audition technique. Each student is cast in a performance project that rehearses throughout the six weeks and is presented at the Boston University Theatre, home of the Huntington Theatre Company.
Classes meet weekdays; evening rehearsals for the performance project meet Tuesday through Thursday, with an additional Saturday rehearsal. Weekend and other weeknight activities are scheduled several times a week and may include participating in cabaret-style talent shows or attending professional productions at the American Repertory Theatre or the Huntington Theatre.
For further information and application, contact Jennifer Austin, Assistant Director, Boston University Theatre Institute, 855 Commonwealth Ave., Room 470, Boston, MA 02215 (617-353-3391, fax: 617-353-4363), or try the Boston University website (www.bu.edu/sfa/affiliated/theatreinstitute/theatre_institute.html).-D.F.
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By Bill Gale
THE ASTORS' BEECHWOOD
The biggest intern program is at one of the fabled mansions in Newport, The Astors' Beechwood, located in an area of summer "cottages" built in the 1890s as watering places for the very rich. Which, by the way is something you will not get working at Beechwood. They pay acting interns $115 a week and a costume intern $130 a week, but housing-in the mansion-is provided. Beechwood will hire 10 actors and one costume person this summer. They are looking for actors with good improvisational skills. That is because the actors will be playing servants for and members and friends of the Astor family; they will spend time greeting and guiding guests at the mansion, mostly the tourists who flock to Newport in the summer.
For the most part, the interns are either college students or recent graduates. They live two to four in a room, with shared bathroom facilities. TVs and VCRs are provided and there are laundry facilities. Competition is stiff. Last year 2, 300 applied. The contact person is Sheli Beck at (401) 846-3772. Her e-mail is email@example.com. There is a website: www.astorsbeechwood.com.
Across Narragansett Bay, the venerable Theatre-by-the-Sea has a smaller, less structured internship program at the place where the likes of Marlon Brando once performed. Interns at this seaside theatre work mostly in the technical departments as carpenters, prop people, and in the office and stage management. They generally don't act.
Interns are paid between $50 and $100 a week and are housed near the theatre in shared rooms and bathrooms. Cooking facilities are available. The time of service is generally June through September, but some interns can leave earlier for school, according to producer Laura Harris, once an intern at the theater herself. One of the great deals at Theatre-by-the-Sea: It is only 100 yards from one of the best beaches in New England, one that is rarely crowded.
To contact Theatre-by-the-Sea, send a resume to Laura Harris at 364 Cards Pond Road, Matunuck, RI, 02879. The phone number is (401) 783-9452.
Perishable Theatre is a long way from any beaches, located in a gritty part of downtown Providence, a half-block from the city's leading theatre, the Trinity Repertory Company. Perishable has a lively, well thought of training program. This summer, they will be offering a range of courses, including an introduction to acting taught by Trinity Rep's Fred Sullivan Jr. Another course, taught by Rhode Island College faculty member Wendy Overly, will be a survey of the acting styles taught by some of the great teachers, including Stanislavsky, Adler, Grotowski, and Suzuki. A Boston casting agency head, Carolyn Pickman, will teach on-camera work.
Most students at Perishable hold other jobs, says Amy Budd, who coordinates the training. The work is very much hands-on, with students acting from day one, she adds. The summer session begins July 9. Tuition ranges from $150 to $250 for a six- or eight-week session. Contact Budd at Perishable Theatre, 95 Empire St., Providence, RI 02903. The phone number is (401) 331-2695 ext. 102. The theatre has a website:www.Perishable.org.
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By David A. Rosenberg
WESTPORT COUNTRY PLAYHOUSE
One of the oldest summer theatres is the Westport Country Playhouse, founded in 1931, a place where the likes of Stephen Sondheim, Sally Jesse (no Raphael then), Mary Rodgers, and Tammy Grimes spent a summer. For its second season under the aegis of Joanne Woodward, the apprentice-intern program is undergoing changes. Modeling itself on Massachusetts' Williamstown Theatre Festival, WCP will be offering regular classes as well as opportunities for hands-on experiences.
Ten apprentices will pay a set amount and receive housing. In the mornings, they take classes covering acting and an introduction to theatre. In the afternoons, they put that learning to work in various capacities, supervised by the playhouse's professional staff. Seven interns, on the other hand, specialize in a particular area of interest-stage managing, technical, publicity-and will be paid $150 per week, plus housing.
Westport is a theatre-savvy town, 50 miles from New York, reachable by car or Metro-North. Letters of interest and resumes should be sent to Ellen Lampros, Westport Country Playhouse, P.O. Box 629, Westport, CT 06881. Fax is (203) 221-7482; email is firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls.
Another Westport opportunity is at the outdoor Levitt Pavilion. "We offer two positions currently," said executive director Freda Welsh. "One is an office intern, which offers training and experience in arts administration. The other is a technical position. We're looking for sponsors to help expand the program." Interns get a small stipend, but no room and board.
Coming up to its 28th season, the Levitt presents attractions from mid-June through the end of August, six nights a week. "We have a different entertainment format every night: music, dance, theatre, children's performances," said Welsh. "It's pretty extensive."
For the office intern, computer experience is a plus. Call Freda Welsh at (203) 226-7600.
CONNECTICUT REPERTORY THEATRE
At the Connecticut Repertory Theatre on the University of Connecticut campus, technical interns are paid approximately $175 a week, depending on their qualifications. Room and board are not provided, but affordable, low-cost housing is readily available in this college town.
"We hope they have had a little bit of experience," said production manager Tina Louise Jones, "but many are taught on the job." Interns are involved in running shows, but their choice of area depends on their interests and the theatre's needs. Opportunities are offered in various areas-electrical, carpentry, scene painting, wardrobe, and sound. For stage carpentry, for example, interns build in the afternoons, then run productions in the evening.
The season, which operates under an URTA Equity contract, usually consists of two musicals and one play, beginning May 21 and ending July 28. Some internships don't actually begin until June 5, however. UConn is a 140-mile, approximately two-and-a-half hour drive from New York.
Send resumes to Connecticut Repertory Theatre, 802 Bolton Rd., U-1127, Storrs, CT 06268, c/o Tina Louise Jones.
Goodspeed Musicals has been in the business of premiering and reviving tuners for the past 30 years. "Our season runs for nine months, during which we are constantly reviewing applications for technical apprentices," said assistant production manager Carrie L. Smith. "Areas are lighting, set construction, painting, electrics, props, costumes, company management. The people in those positions are usually running the shows, working backstage, and in the shops as well."
Apprentices receive a salary of $256 per week, with housing provided in a group location at a cost of $50 a week. Board is not provided. The minimum commitment is three months. Goodspeed also employs interns, paying them a negotiable stipend, with housing available. Areas are similar to those offered apprentices and college credit may be arranged.
The three-show season starts March 30 and runs through December. Candidates who want to work the first three-month period should be available in February. Scheduled so far are "Brigadoon" and the Gershwins' "They All Laughed."
Goodspeed is located in East Haddam on the Connecticut River, approximately 120 miles from New York. It's reachable by car or train to Old Saybrook, 15 minutes away. Applicants may use the web at www.goodspeed.org or send letter, resume, availability, and three references to Carrie L. Smith, Goodspeed Musicals, Box A, East Haddam, CT 06423. The fax is (860) 873-2329.
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By Mike Salinas, David A. Rosenberg, and Simi Horwitz
ATLANTIC THEATER COMPANY
The Atlantic Theater Company, only a couple of blocks west of Times Square, will hold an intensive six-week summer program June 25-Aug. 3. The summer sessions are open to beginning and professional acting students and to NYU students for credit. Participants will meet six times a week to learn the "Practical Aesthetics" technique outlined in "A Practical Handbook for the Actor," including the script analysis process and "moment to moment" work. Visiting professionals deliver guest lectures every Saturday, and equal emphasis is placed on the voice, speech, and movement training. Tuition is $2,000, but no scholarships are offered (unlike the rest of the season, when some work-study positions are available). Interviews are required for admission, and space is limited. Call (212) 691-5919 to apply, and ask to speak with Steven.-M.S.
POWERHOUSE SUMMER THEATRE PROGRAM
Eighty miles upstate in Poughkeepsie, the Powerhouse Summer Theatre Program is a joint venture between Vassar, a 138-year-old premier liberal arts college, and the New York Stage and Film Company, a New York City-based professional theatre company dedicated to the development and production of new plays. For $2,700-which includes housing on the Vassar campus-actors, directors, playwrights, stage managers, and designers can spend almost eight weeks immersing themselves in theatre and working with some of America's leading theatre practitioners. Participants get a crash course in practically every kind of drama, including outdoor theatre, one-act plays, Shakespeare, radio plays, play readings, play workshops, and a "Really Bad Play Mini-Fest," which gives dramatists two minutes to write their worst, and performers and directors another five minutes to get it up on its feet. Powerhouse is proud that it premiered six well-respected plays in the 1999-2000 New York City theatre season: "Chesapeake," "Family Week," "Another American Asking and Telling," "Hurricane," "Current Events," and "The Bomb-itty of Errors." Applicants may send a letter of interest (and, for writers, a sample of their writing) to Powerhouse at 124 Raymond Ave., Poughkeepsie, NY 12604. More details are on their website at www.vassar.edu/powerhouse/appr.html.-M.S.
Cobalt Studios in White Lake, NY (100 miles away from Times Square, in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains) provides an opportunity to learn the finer points of scene painting on a secluded 28-acre farm. In one week, the faculty will guide participants through the hierarchy of the paint shop, the skills and qualities of a good scenic artist: "What is paint?" and "Fabric choices"; the "Bamboo Ballet" (painting with bamboo brush extensions, with the scenery laid out on the floor); drawing tricks for large scale, geometric shapes; the drawing of basic forms; and (as part of a team) drawing an overscaled picture using those skills. The next two weeks are, if anything, more concentrated, with emphasis on woodgrain, marble, brick, and stone sections, including painted tromp l'oeil molding; and landscape with brushstroke exercises and tree structure drawings.
$1,900 covers a student's share of class and office supplies, utilities, overhead and insurance, room and board (including laundry and all meals at the house), but not mutually agreed-on meals "out," personal trips, clothing, and personal tools or brushes. For more information or an application, contact Rachel Keebeler by e-mail at email@example.com, or write Cobalt Studios, PO Box 79, White Lake, NY 12786-0079, or call (845) 583-7025.-M.S.
CHAUTAUQUA CONSERVATORY THEATER
The Chautauqua Conservatory Theater Company, now in its 18th year, will hold New York City auditions for actors at least 20 years old on March 17 and 24, for its summer session of June 23-Aug. 19. Leading professionals and teachers from nationally and internationally renowned theatres and training programs will lead participants through, as the theatre puts it, "daily study (in both individual and group sessions) of those skills necessary to the thorough exploration and performance of a wide variety of stage roles." Conservatory faculty provides rehearsal support, working in close conjunction with directors to assist the actors both in the direct application of their skills and in the development of a deeper individual rehearsal process. For more information, call (716) 357-6233 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.-M.S.
HUDSON VALLEY SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
Since 1987, the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival has, as one critic put it, "taken the starch out of the classics," performing the Bard's works in a 400-seat, yellow-and-white, open-faced tent on the spectacular grounds of the Boscobel Restoration in Garrison, New York. Thousands of playgoers may picnic on the 30-acre property and tour the mansion before attending productions by the only resident professional Shakespeare company in the region. Founded by Terrence O'Brien and funded in part by the N.Y. State Council on the Arts, as well as the Putnam Arts Fund, the festival is noted for presenting the classics in a contemporary, innovative style. Nor does the festival always play it safe. Among its acclaimed productions are "Titus Andronicus" and "Measure for Measure."
It also sponsors year-round education programs, including schools outreach and artists-in-residence, reaching 7,000 students. "We have both apprentices and interns," said education programs manager, Stephanie Turner. "Apprentices are students who pay tuition."
Apprentices become an integral part of the professional company, arriving during tech week of the second show. All are assigned either a small acting role or a position back stage. For three weeks, they take intensive instruction in voice, movement, Shakespeare and contemporary scene study, improvisation, stage combat, and master classes. Practicality is not overlooked; discussions cover auditioning, headshots, commercial work, and voice-overs.
Internships are more limited, with only a few hired each season. In the technical area, the festival is seeking a stage management and a wardrobe intern. Applicants should have some background in their fields, be eager to learn, and willing to take their own initiative. College credit is available. At the end of the season, technical interns have an opportunity to put their skills to use for the apprentice company's own production.
Operating under an LOA/LORT D contract, Hudson Valley Shakespeare also offers opportunities to earn points in the Equity membership candidate program.
Unlike the apprentices, who arrive for the second show only, interns are involved in the entire season, which runs June 20-Aug. 26. Scheduled for this summer are "The Merchant of Venice" (June 20-July 29) and "Romeo and Juliet" (July 18-Aug. 26). Rehearsals are in Manhattan, beginning the end of May.
Interns are paid a stipend based on their level of experience, and given housing-but not board-at Mount Saint Mary College in nearby Newburgh. Resumes should be sent by mail, fax, or e-mail to Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, 155 Main St., Cold Spring, NY 10516; fax (845) 265-7865; e-mail: email@example.com.
A few acting interns and non-Equity actors are also hired and must audition. Headshots and resumes should be sent to the artistic director at the above address.
Boscobel is about an hour north of New York. Metro North provides frequent service to Cold Spring. It's a short taxi ride from the station to the mansion.-D.A.R.
BAY STREET THEATRE
If you're interested in launching a career in lighting design, say-or indeed, any behind-the-scenes technical support role-the Bay Street Theatre, in Sag Harbor, Long Island, may have a summer internship program that's just right for you.
Admittedly, 90% of the interns are college students who are majoring in the field-and will earn college credit for their summer internship-but the program is by no means limited to students, stresses Gary Hygom, production manager at the Bay Street Theatre.
Still, he stresses he is not looking for fly-by wannabes; people who boast a long-term interest in the field have a better shot at getting hired than those who have a passing fancy. Similarly, lighting design majors on the graduate or undergraduate level-who come from colleges nationwide-are more likely candidates than communications majors, he points out.
Fifteen internships are available in costumes, set construction, scenic painting, sound and electricity, box office management, and production management.
The ages range from 18 (the minimum) to mid-20s. All interns are paid $120 a week and are given free housing. Interns are, however, responsible for their own food and transportation, although some extra money is forthcoming for gas. It should be stressed that having a car is essential. "The housing is at South Hampton University and that's 20 minutes away from the theatre," notes Hygom.
"Interns are involved in every technical aspect of a production, usually working as assistants to the professionals on staff," he continues. "Although I try to keep interns focused on their respective fields, during the running of a show I may have to move the interns around, so that someone in wardrobe may find himself working in sound. On average, interns work an eight-to-nine hour day, six days a week."
The internship program at Bay Street has been in existence for 10 years, although the technical internship program has been refined over the last three years. During that time (the last three years), "We have had on average three interns in stage management, two to three in carpentry, two to three in scenic painting, and two to three wardrobe, and two to three in lighting."
Besides the college credit one can earn-the details are hammered out between the intern and his college-the opportunity to work with top-notch professionals in theatre is a big bonus, says Hygom. "It's the experience and the contacts that are made. Three of our stage management interns, for example, are now working on Broadway and Off-Broadway, thanks to the contacts they made here."
Approximately 50 aspiring interns apply each year and, as noted, only 15 interns are brought on board. Competition is fierce. If you are interested in interning at Bay Street, the first thing to do, says Hygom, is to log onto the theatre's web site at www.baystreet.org and fill out an online application.
"I will then do a phone interview. I am very turned on by the length of experience [the more the better] that a candidate has," he says. "I will ask for references from professors and/or technical directors with whom the students have worked. But usually, what most sells me is the conversation I have with the candidate, the sense of who he is and the level of his interest and commitment!"-S.H.
The Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, NY, boasts one of the most well known and established summer theatre training programs in the country; hundreds apply each year for the two programs that are offered, says Greg Potter, a Hangar Theatre spokesperson. The theatre's two internship programs are, respectively, in acting training and production. Most of the interns are college students-although they don't have to be-and college credits may be earned, the details of which are worked out with the college that the intern is attending.
"We offer, on average, 14 production internships in stage management, design [lighting, costumes, sets, and other technical areas], and directing," explains Potter. "Our interns work as assistants to the professionals in our main stage productions, those at the Wedge [also known as the Lab], and with the cast and crew for the children's shows. Our production interns work in all aspects of production, regardless of what their specialties are [lighting as opposed to costumes, say]. The interns work six days a week and their hours are long," Potter admits frankly, "although those hours may vary on a daily basis."
Production interns neither get paid nor have to pay tuition. However, they are responsible for their food and housing, although the theatre may provide the latter (at a cost of $900 to the intern), assuming the intern cannot find his or her own housing.
The acting program is a little different. Indeed, acting interns have to pay tuition of $3,000, plus housing, which, as noted, costs $900. Financial aid is available and most acting interns apply for it, says Potter, adding that the number of openings in the acting program varies, depending on the availability of financial assistance. Still, approximately eight to 10 actors are admitted annually for a program that starts at the end of May and continues through mid-August.
"The young actors are cast in four Lab shows," says Potter. "They also have the chance to audition for mainstage productions and take master classes, if they wish, in movement or speech, as an example. They work with professionals in the field. Besides the contacts they may make and the experience they earn, their appearances in our mainstage productions may lead to their getting Equity cards."
The program, which has been in existence for 10 years, looks for people who have "experience, a desire to learn and grow, and energy," asserts Potter. "But we're also very interested in diversity. So not everyone has to have the same level of experience. We also want our actors and production interns to represent a diverse group in terms of gender, ethnicity, and race. We want pictures and resumes from our actors, and resumes from our production interns. Recommendations help, but they are not necessary."
For more information, a brochure, and an application form, call (607) 273-8588 or log onto their web site at firstname.lastname@example.org.-S.H.
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By Gretchen Van Benthuysen
CENTENARY STAGE COMPANY
The Centenary Stage Company in Hackettstown offers a professional acting class beginning on June 5. Classes are held from 6:30-9:15 pm, Tuesdays and Thursdays, ending June 29 with a "Scene Night" performance. The classes are taught by Francis Rella, a teacher whose acting credits include appearances with the New York City Opera, PBS, CBS-TV, Warner Brothers, Orion Playhouse, and the Sacramento Light Opera Company. She was also a writer and broadcaster for National Public Radio. The class cost is $150.
Also offered, on the campus of Centenary College, is a Young Performers Workshop Summer Intensive, Mondays through Saturdays, July 23-Aug. 26. A part- or full-time professional training program for performers ages eight to 18 in acting technique, voice, dance and theatre movement, stage combat, music theory, choreography, play writing, theatre management, and theatre appreciation, it costs $800 for part-time students (9 am-4:30 pm) or $925 for full-time students (9 am-9 pm). Call (908) 979-0900 for more information, or visit www.centenarystageco.org.
Theatrefest is a 12-week summer stock professional apprentice program in Montclair, NJ, on the Montclair University campus, for college students and second career individuals, providing on-the-job training, classroom study, participation in productions, and Equity membership candidacy credits. Production concentrations are in stage management, props, costumes, music, and technical theatre. Administration offerings are in management, marketing, and audience services.
People selected are assigned a specific concentration, or could be reassigned to a different department if the need arises. At summer's end, apprentices will present a production written, directed, and performed by them. Housing is provided at no charge. Apprentices are paid a $100 per week stipend. Credit-earning internships are also available. The registration deadline is March 31. Call (973) 655-7071 for more information, or visit www.montclair.edu.
PLAYWRIGHTS THEATER OF NEW JERSEY
Playwrights Theater of New Jersey in Madison runs a Production Workshop June 4-July 16, culminating in public performances on July 14 and 15. Class meets from 7-10 pm, Monday and Wednesday nights. This intensive rehearsal and performance laboratory features professional individual mentoring sessions for actors, directors, and playwrights. Performances are followed by an evaluation session. The workshop is conducted by director/actor/educator Joe Giardina.
Playwrights must submit one-act scripts for selection committee by May 1, accompanied by a nonrefundable reading fee of $10. (Fee is applied to the cost of the class upon acceptance.) Cost for playwrights is $200, $150 for directors, and $100 for actors.
In addition, Playwrights' associate director John Pietrowski is teaching two separate playwriting courses. The first is from 7-10 pm on Tuesdays, June 5-July 31. The second is from 7-10 pm on Mondays, Aug. 6-Oct. 1. Each class is $225. For more information, call (973) 514-1787 or visit www.ptnj.org
SHADOW LAWN SUMMER STAGE
Interns and apprentices are needed for a summer production season of three plays running from May 26-Aug. 6 at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, N.J, and sponsored by the university's music and theatre arts department. Plays for this summer are to be announced in late February. Last season's roster included "Don't Dress for Dinner," Agatha Christie's "The Mousetrap," and Brian Friel's "Translations."
College level internships are available in production and management. Assignments are made according to experience and ability. Interns may be considered for minor roles and often are hired back following the summer in paid positions.
Responsible positions are available, with a limited number of on campus rooms available for housing. Additional positions are available without rooms. A small stipend is offered per week, and three college credits are possible at a discounted tuition rate. If schedule permits, interns can take an additional non-theatre, three-credit course, with credits transferable. High school students are admitted as apprentices in all aspects of the season depending on experience and ability. College credit is possible for students who have completed their junior year. Call (732) 571-3442.
DREAMCATCHER REPERTORY THEATRE
Located in Bloomfield, NJ, Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre will offer three one-day classes from 9 am-3 pm during the month of July (with specific dates to be announced). Geared toward the professional, they will focus on on-camera workshops in commercials, TV, and film. Professional casting directors, supervising each workshop, will be announced later. Actors will learn the formats of each discipline while tackling business skills, including how to work with cold materials and make quick choices. Classes are limited to 15. For more information, call (973) 748-9008, ext. 995.
PRINCETON REP SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL
This not-for-profit, Equity company has internships available in administration, tech, and acting for its summer season, running from June through August. Workshops may be offered for a fee. No other details were available at press time. (609) 921-3682.
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By Mark Cofta
THE NOH TRAINING PROJECT
The Noh Training Project enters its seventh summer in residence with the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble. A three-hour drive from New York, the bucolic Pennsylvania town is a great place to study during the summer with Noh expert Richard Emmert. He leads a select group-no more than 18-in the dance, chant, music, and performance history of Japanese Noh Drama, and then is joined in the third week by Noh Master actor/teacher Akiri Matsui, who goes beyond traditional performance to training in creating new works with Noh techniques, but non-Noh musical accompaniment.
The program culminates in a recital for an invited audience. The Noh Training Project costs $1,400, which includes tuition, room (in Bloomsburg University's graduate housing), tabi (Japanese split-toed socks), and kita Noh fan. Classes run Monday through Friday, affording time to enjoy hiking, biking, and camping in the area.
Applications are due by May 15. Write to Noh Training Project, c/o Learning Tomorrow, 53 W. Main St., Bloomsburg, PA 17815; (570) 387-8270; fax: (570) 784-4160; www.bte.org
PIG IRON THEATRE COMPANY
The internationally acclaimed Pig Iron Theatre Company of Philadelphia is squeezing three weekend intensives into their busy schedule in July. Pig Iron's recent tour covered Italy, Poland, Ireland, Scotland, and London, and they're currently creating "Anodyne" (April 12-29), a site-specific show in collaboration with a photographer and a sculptor. This summer, the company will create "Night" with movement theatre legend Joseph Chaikin.
Pig Iron's Saturday-Sunday July workshops in the physical theatre techniques that have made them so popular in Philadelphia and Edinburgh, Scotland, will occur at Swarthmore College, where the company was originally formed while undergraduates. July 14-15 will focus on "Neutral Mask"; July 21-22 features "Red Nose Clown"; and July 28-29 explores "Theatre of Objects."
Tuition for each workshop is $150. Write to Pig Iron Theatre Company, P.O. Box 17275, Philadelphia, PA 19105; or call (215) 873-0883; or visit their website at
PENNSYLVANIA SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL AT DESALES UNIVERSITY
Though acting internships at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival are reserved for theatre majors of DeSales University (formerly Allentown College), the three-stage, six-production summer program needs technical interns.
General manager Andrea Roney reports that technical interns, typically college students or older, work closely with designers and staff in responsible positions-not just as grunt labor. Connected to the DeSales University Theatre Department, PSF emphasizes teaching and practical experience for interns. The growing summer festival's season includes "Romeo and Juliet" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" on the mainstage, "Driving Miss Daisy," "Charley's Aunt," and "Pinocchio" on their arena stage, and "The Green Show" outdoors.
Technical internships begin May 14 and end with strike on Aug. 8; some staff positions (which are also available) end mid-summer. Interns receive a stipend plus shared housing on the DeSales campus. Contact: General Manager, Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival at DeSales University, 2755 Station Ave., Center Valley, PA 18034; e-mail: ; fax: (610) 282-2084; website: www.pashakespeare.org.