Conservatory at Shakespeare & Company Presents KING JOHN, 12/14 & 15


Shakespeare & Company has announced The Conservatory at Shakespeare & Company's winter production of King John, directed by longtime Company artist, and star of this summer's critically acclaimed production of Cassandra Speaks, Tod Randolph. Now in its sixth year, the Conservatory, a 13-week professional actor training program includes 10 - 16 promising actors from across the country and around the globe. This year's program features a group of 16 who will join forces in Shakespeare's rarely produced King John for three special performances in the Tina Packer Playhouse.

Performances of King John will run in the Tina Packer Playhouse December 14 at 7:00 p.m. and December 15 at 1:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. Tickets are general admission, $16 for adults and $8 for students. The Tina Packer Playhouse is wheelchair accessible. For further information and to order tickets visit the website at or call the Box Office at (413) 637-3353.

Shakespeare set King John in the early 13th century and compresses John's 17-year reign into a succession of tyrannical, bloody moments that begin with King Philip of France and the Duke of Austria threatening war and demanding that John's nephew, Arthur, is the rightful heir to the English throne. King John is filled with passionate speeches, soaring language, and thrilling battles, making it a perfect work for the Conservatory participants to sink their teeth into.

"King John is a play with wonderfully juicy acting parts, a great ensemble play, a difficult, challenging play for young actors, and an intriguing story about the dark and shifting currents of political opportunism," says director Tod Randolph. "England's feudal system of government was still prevalent in the late 13th century, and primogeniture as a legal practice had yet to be firmly established. How does political power pass from generation to generation? What does it mean to swear fealty? What are the obligations of a king to his subjects; to his nobles; to his land? How do leaders, and followers, balance the demands of power with the demands of conscience? And for these young actors and myself, how much fun can we have plunging headlong into this tangle of witty, ruthless, hungry, desperate and dangerous characters, to tell an unfamiliar story in the words of the world's greatest playwright?"

Similar in scope to an MFA program, the Conservatory trains actors in specialized techniques developed by Shakespeare & Company over its 35 year existence. Under the direction of long-time S&Co. artists and teachers, Conservatory actors take classes in Structure of the Verse, Shakespeare Scholarship, The First Folio, The Art of Rhetoric, Personal Connection, Linklater Voice Technique, Clown, Fight, Movement, and Elizabethan Dance. The Conservatory finishes with an exploration of Shakespeare's work in the Company's Tina Packer Playhouse, during which the participants utilize their newly-learned techniques for a live audience. Visit for Conservatory applications, and more information on all of our Training programs for students and teachers.

Over the past 35 years, Shakespeare & Company has had a profound impact on the way Shakespeare is performed in America. Company artists are encouraged to explore the actor/audience relationship, to discover a personal connection to the text, and to fully integrate their minds, bodies, and spirits in order to create an exhilarating theatrical event. "Central to the reason for these participants choice of this program is the Shakespeare & Company approach to actor training, with its emphasis on fully-embodied language in performance," says Director of Training Dennis Krausnick. "Participants will receive classes in audition technique and stage fight proficiency, and will be well-positioned to embark on their careers in professional theatre. The Conservatory has continued to evolve in each of the years we've offered it, and I have no doubt that this year it will surpass what has been achieved up until this point."

Training workshops at S&Co. began in 1978 when Tina Packer, Dennis Krausnick, master voice coach Kristin Linklater, movement choreographer John Broome, fight choreographer B.H. Barry, Artistic Director Tony Simotes, and many others created a blueprint for approximately 40 Month-Long Training Intensives to be hosted by Shakespeare & Company over the next quarter century. Along with the Conservatory program, the Company also offers Weekend Intensives, Week-Long Text Intensives, Week-Long Rhetoric classes, Fight and Text Workshops, Master Teacher Series, Clown Workshops and more. Actors, directors, and writers from all over the world come to work with the Company, training not only their voices and bodies, but also delving into their imaginations, intellects, and emotional lives. Past training participants include Karen Allen, Lauren Ambrose, Gillian Barge, Jennifer Grant, Karen Grassle, Joe Morton, Andie MacDowell, Bronson Pinchot, Anna Deavere Smith, Keanu Reeves, Diana Quick, Courtney Vance, Sigourney Weaver, and Raquel Welch.

The 2013 Conservatory at Shakespeare & Company is limited to 12-16 students. The program begins mid-September and ends mid-December with the final performance and title of the semester show to be determined. The Conservatory is a total of 13 weeks. Tuition for the Conservatory is $9,800, and includes housing. Alumni and union discounts still apply. Admission to The Conservatory at Shakespeare & Company is by audition only. Applicants should submit a completed application and an audition video. The video may be in DVD or VHS format and should include two contrasting Shakespeare monologues and a brief personal statement. The monologues should be approximately one minute each. The personal statement should be about 60 seconds and should consist of a description of why you are interested in participating in The Conservatory. Contact the Training Department with any questions. Visit, for applications and more information on all of our Training programs for students and teachers.

TOD RANDOLPH* sixteenth season (Conservatory faculty/director of King John) S&Co: Cassandra Speaks (Dorothy Thompson); As You Like It (Jaques); Richard III (Q. Elizabeth); Enchanted April (Rose); Midsummer Night's Dream (Titania); Vita & Virginia (Virginia); Love's Labor's Lost (Princess of France); King Lear (Goneril); Merchant of Venice (Portia); The Fiery Rain (Edith Wharton); Mrs. Klein (Melitta); Virginia (title role); Duet for One (Stephanie); Julius Caesar (Portia); Twelfth Night (Viola); Directing: The Dreamer Examines His Pillow; As You Like It (Conservatory 2010). New York & Regional: Xingu, The Inner House (Wharton Salon); in light of Jane (Mixed Company); Play by Play/Blue Moons (Stageworks/Hudson); The Libertine (Theatre Row Theatre); Cymbeline (Holderness Group); Beauty Queen of Leenane (Syracuse Stage); Othello (Portland Stage); The Winter's Tale (Trinity Rep).

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