Sara Holdren Announced As Artistic Director Of Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford
Sara Holdren has been named as the Artistic Director of Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford. SA@S is a six-week summer theater program that uniquely combines rigorous training, ensemble collaboration, and the opportunity to rehearse and perform two Shakespeare plays in repertory on the grounds of the iconic American Festival Shakespeare Theater in Stratford, Connecticut.
Sara is a Brooklyn-based director and the Artistic Director/co-founder of the theater company Tiltyard, as well as the theater critic for New York Magazine and Vulture.com. Her directorial experience and interests run the gamut from Shakespeare to devised work and modern Russian theater. Sara has taught and directed Shakespeare in educational programs, including Two River Theater's Little Shakespeare program and the American Shakespeare Center's Young Company Theater Camp. She also assisted in SA@S's inaugural season in 2014. In her work, she combines a lifelong love of classical texts with an interest in ensemble training, striving for a rigorous and dynamic use of language, fused with passionate, physical storytelling, vibrant visual worlds, and a spirit of joy, collaboration, and play. Sara holds a BA in Theater from Yale University and an MFA in Directing from Yale School of Drama. She is also a Drama League Fellow, a graduate of the Acting Shakespeare program at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and the recipient of the 2016-17 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism. www.saraholdren.com
Susan Wright, President of The Mighty Quinn Foundation, Inc., a non-profit devoted to theater education, whose flagship program, is SA@S, commented: "We are thrilled to have Sara back! We not only had the benefit of having Sara help lead our inaugural class but have continued to be enormously impressed with the creativity she has brought to all of her productions since then. Our program, students, and audiences will benefit immensely from the enthusiasm, intellectual vigor and joy that she infuses into everything she does."
In accepting the position Sara stated: "I'm honored and thrilled to return to Stratford, where I was present in the summer of 2014 for the creation of something truly extraordinary. I come from a theatrical background that sometimes seems to run an odd gamut - Shakespeare and what we like to call the "classics" on the one hand and experimental theater, devising, and physical training on the other. My aspiration (and my joy) has been to bring those pursuits together, approaching Shakespeare's plays not as sacred texts or museum pieces but as living maps for present, passionate, collaborative theatrical events. In short, plays as playgrounds! Places to swing and tumble and slide and pretend and get messy. I see my own creative predilections and most treasured goals mirrored in SA@S's mission. As a program it emphasizes ensemble training as a means for personal creative growth, for forming deep artistic friendships, and for unlocking Shakespeare's expansive worlds and brilliant language in beautiful, unexpected ways. I'm grateful to follow in the footsteps of SA@S's two former, and formative, artistic directors, Colleen Sullivan and Brian McManamon, and I look forward to the adventure that lies ahead. To quote Olivia - Most wonderful!"