Many stage stars will cite Shakespeare’s plays as a perfect starting point for any aspiring actor or director. This summer, high school students will discover this firsthand during the Houston Shakespeare Festival Summer Conservatory.
From July 24 – Aug. 12, students will explore the Bard’s works under the watchful eyes of acclaimed theater professionals at the University of Houston’s School of Theatre and Dance. UH’s talented School of Theatre and Dance faculty members and students also will guide students through lessons in acting, directing, stage combat and vocal technique. At the event’s conclusion, conservatory participants will showcase their talents during the Houston Shakespeare Festival (HSF) at Miller Outdoor Theatre.
“The Houston Shakespeare Festival Summer Conservatory provides students the opportunity to work in a professional environment with professional actors before they graduate high school,” said Nicole Gamache, director of the 2013 conservatory. “Our goal is to create an environment where students can gain a better understanding of Shakespeare and his language.”
Conservatory students also get a preview of university life. They reside in campus residence halls and have ample time to explore UH’s campus.
Now in its third year, the conservatory continues to train young artists and complements HSF, which delivers summertime productions featuring noted artists. This year, HSF presents “Antony and Cleopatra” and “As You Like It” Aug. 2 – 11 at Miller Outdoor Theatre. All performances begin at 8:30 p.m. Guest artists include actors Seth Gilliam, Brandon Dirden, Crystal Dickinson and Chris Hutchison, and directors Leah Gardiner and Marc Masterson. For more details, visit the festival website.
The UH School of Theatre and Dance produces pre-professional plays, dance concerts, studio productions, a new play festival and school shows through the Theatre for Young Audiences program. The school performs in the Wortham Theatre and the Quintero Theatre. The Houston Shakespeare Festival is a professional project of the school, which is produced each summer at Miller Outdoor Theatre. The UH School of Theatre & Dance offers bachelor’s and master's degrees in theater and teacher certifications in dance and theatre. Its graduate program consists of a master of arts in theatre and master of fine arts in theatre with specializations in acting, directing and design. Alumni include actors Dennis Quaid, Jim Parsons, Cindy Pickett, Brett Cullen and Robert Wuhl. Faculty includes Tony Award-winning producer Stuart Ostrow and Tony-nominated designer Kevin Rigdon. Among the greats who have taught at the school in previous years are Lanford Wilson, Sir Peter Hall and Jose Quintero. In 2012, the school was named “Best College Theater” in the Houston Press Theater Awards. For details on UH's School of Theatre & Dance, visit www.theatredance.uh.edu.