This year, the Houston Shakespeare Festival (HSF) celebrates 40 years of delivering the Bard’s best to Houstonians. Through free performances in Miller Outdoor Theatre, the festival (led by the University of Houston’s School of Theatre & Dance) has long entertained audiences of all ages. It also has inspired countless actors and stage professionals.
Soon, a collection of high school thespians will head to UH to study Shakespeare’s works and learn from seasoned theater veterans during the Houston Shakespeare Festival Conservatory (July 20 – Aug. 10). Hosted by UH’s School of Theatre & Dance, the conservatory provides professional instruction in acting, directing, stage combat and vocal technique. Faculty includes UH professors and members of local theater community.
Students also gain valuable experience as performers. Before each HSF production, conservatory students will perform scenes on the hill and other locations at Miller Outdoor Theatre. This year, they also will appear in HSF plays – showcasing what they learned during the conservatory’s stage combat classes.
“The Houston Shakespeare Festival is an opportunity for UH students to work with experienced professionals who act, direct and design the shows. The HSF Conservatory is a great extension of that educational experience,” said Jim Johnson, HSF executive director and director of UH’s School of Theatre & Dance. “It gives high schoolers a chance to work directly with all of these professionals on stage. These young actors also have the opportunity to train with these veterans and with UH faculty.”
Beyond learning and performing, conservatory students also experience life at the University of Houston. They will reside in UH’s residence halls and have plenty of time to explore the campus.
The HSF Conservatory is in its fourth year. It complements HSF’s 40th anniversary celebration featuring productions of “Henry IV, 1” and “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” at Miller Outdoor Theatre. All performances begin at 8:30 p.m. Show dates are as follows:
- “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” – Aug. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9
- “Henry IV, 1” – Aug. 2, 6, 8, 10
This year’s guest artists include stage and screen actor Mirron Willis and directing veteran Brandon Fox. For more details on the festival, visit the HSF website.