Looking ahead to Summer 2019

OUR 6th Season@ Stratford

“Resolve you for more amazement.”

So says Paulina in the final act of The Winter’s Tale, a gorgeous, strange, painful, sprawling play about parents and children, delusion and cruelty and loss, endurance and rebirth and redemption. Oh, and bears.

Paulina gives us a tall order, but she also defines the heart of our task as theater-makers: We are the voyagers in search of amazement. Six years ago, I was amazed at the formation of a unique new training program in Stratford, Connecticut. Alongside founding Artistic Director Colleen Sullivan, I watched the Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford take shape and was thrilled by its dedication not only to tackling Shakespeare’s plays with rigor, specificity, and boundless enthusiasm, but also to the principles of collaborative ensemble theater-making. It’s relatively easy in this country to find a Shakespeare play to audition for, or to find a class or even a program in Shakespearean performance. It’s rare to see intensive classical training blended with a deep interest in ensemble — in the sense of ownership, purpose, community, and explosive creativity that living and working with a close-knit troupe of artists can foster.

These are the principles on which SA@S was founded: Shakespeare + Ensemble. A kind of theatrical nuclear fusion, its possibilities endless and renewable. Six years down the road, I’m honored to return to Stratford as Artistic Director of SA@S, and to follow in the formative footsteps of both Colleen and Brian McManamon. They built an incredible program, a program that draws applicants from all over the world to come together in Stratford to make, to play, to learn, to build — not simply to put on a show (two shows!) but to become a company.

So now… Resolve you—resolve we all!—for more amazement.

In the Summer of 2019, I look forward to welcoming a new ensemble of adventurous, passionate young artists to Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford. We’ll work hard and play hard for six weeks. We’ll shake the dust off of Shakespeare and we’ll dig deep — into these awesome plays and into ourselves. We’ll sweat and share and discover. We might cry a little; we’ll definitely laugh a lot. We’ll continue the SA@S tradition of presenting a two-play repertory season: I’ll be directing The Winter’s Tale, and I’m thrilled to welcome the multitalented theater artist Benjamin Curns as 2019’s Resident Director. Benjamin (a gifted director, actor, fight choreographer, musician, and more) will join our core of Master Class teachers, as well as directing Coriolanus.

“There is a world elsewhere,” Coriolanus says, as he’s banished from Rome. As artists, we make those worlds. They are more than an escape: They are an investigation, a courageous experiment, an envisioning of a life that might be. A “wild dedication of ourselves / To unpath'd waters, undream'd shores.” I’m ready to be amazed by our 2019 ensemble—by the spirit they bring to these plays and to each other—and I invite you to join us in Stratford as we venture into our sixth season.

Sara Holdren, Artistic Director