The Public Offers Tuition Free 'SHAKESPEARE LAB' 6/15-7/24

The Public Theater (Artistic Director Oskar Eustis; Executive Director Andrew D. Hamingson) announced today that The Shakespeare Lab, the theater's professional actor development program, will be tuition-free in 2009. The decision to make the program free this year builds on The Public's long tradition of free Shakespeare in the Park and the theater's ongoing commitment to building a community of classically trained artists. Shakespeare Lab 2009 will run from June 15-July 24.

Under the direction of Barry Edelstein, The Shakespeare Lab immerses a carefully-selected company of professional, mid-career actors in a six-week intensive exploring the rigors, challenges, and joys of performing Shakespeare. The Shakespeare Lab is a unique opportunity for working American actors in mid-career to hone their craft and expand their classical skills. It aims to build a strong and diverse collective of classically trained actors which will expand The Public Theater's community of artists.

"This is a major step for The Shakespeare Lab, and stems from the ongoing democratic nature of the Public Theater," said Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. "We need to make the best training available to the most diverse group of artists, regardless of their ability to pay. I am proud that in this tough economic climate we are able to make this move."

"For decades The Public Theater has been one of the country's foremost producers of Shakespeare and producing Shakespeare involves a lot more than simply putting on plays. Building a community of artists who can do right by Shakespeare, and nurturing that community in a sustained way, is crucial," said Director of The Public Theater's Shakespeare Initiative Barry Edelstein. "For 15 years The Shakespeare Lab has excelled at helping actors sharpen their skills. To make that excellence available tuition-free feels like the right thing to do, and can only strengthen The Public-and Shakespeare in America-in the long term."

The Lab's workshops in Shakespearean performance are led by some of the most respected figures in American classical theater training, including Christopher Bayes, Lisa Benevides, Barry Edelstein, Robert Perillo, J. Steven White, Grace Zandarski, Janet Zarish and others. Guest artists, including eminent members of The Public Theater community and other leading Shakespeareans, will frequently visit the Shakespeare Lab.

The Shakespeare Lab was founded in 1995, and in the 14 years since, numerous members of the Shakespeare Lab Company have gone on to secure roles in the Park, at The Public Theater, on and off-Broadway, and in regional theaters, in addition to work in film and television. Past Shakespeare Lab participants include Elena Shaddow, Nana Mensah and Jennifer Kidwell, who performed in The Public Theater's workshop of The Bacchae, directed by JoAnne Akalaitis; Ryan McCarthy, who appeared in The Public's 2007 production of King Lear with Kevin Kline; Amir Arison, who will appear in the upcoming Public Theater production of Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them; Julio Monge, who has appeared in many Shakespeare productions at The Public, most recently Hamlet in Central Park; and Nancy Lemenager, who recently concluded a stint as Velma in Chicago on Broadway.

The Lab is the cornerstone of a busy summer of Shakespeare-related activity at The Public Theater, including the production of Twelfth Night, starring Anne Hathaway and directed by Daniel Sullivan (June 9 to July 12, 2009); Shakespeare Lab Jr., a program of free, one-week Shakespeare workshops for New York City schoolchildren; and Summer Shake-Up, a one-day celebration of Shakespeare at the Delacorte Theater for New York City schoolchildren and their families.

Shakespeare Lab 2009 will run from June 15 to July 24. Membership in the Shakespeare Lab Company is by audition only.

Requirements and other information can be found at www.publictheater.org.

THE PUBLIC THEATER (Artistic Director Oskar Eustis; Executive Director Andrew D. Hamingson) was founded by Joseph Papp in 1954 as the Shakespeare Workshop and is now one of the nation's preeminent cultural institutions, producing new plays, musicals, productions of Shakespeare, and other classics at its headquarters on Lafayette Street and at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park. The Public's mandate to create a theater for all New Yorkers continues to this day on stage and through its extensive outreach and education programs. Each year, over 250,000 people attend Public Theater-related productions and events at six downtown stages, including Joe's Pub, and Shakespeare in the Park. The Public has won 41 Tony Awards, 145 Obies, 39 Drama Desk Awards, 24 Lucille Lortel Awards and 4 Pulitzer Prizes.

Shakespeare Initiative Funding Credits

The LuEsther T. Mertz Charitable Trust provides leadership support for The Public Theater's year-round activities.

Bank of America is the proud Season Sponsor of Shakespeare in the Park.

Generous support for The Public's Education and Community Partnership programming is provided by ConEdison; the Heckscher Foundation for Children; Disney Worldwide Outreach; the MetLife Foundation; the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation; the Axe-Houghton Foundation; and Verizon.

Program support for Shakespeare Lab Jr. is provided by the Helena Rubinstein Foundation, and the Helene Berger Foundation.

The Laura Pels Foundation is the Founding Sponsor of Shakespeare Lab.

 

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