Stratford Shakespeare Festival artists perform acting and design workshops with Wayne State theatre students in five-day residency

October 6, 2011

Detroit, MI - From Monday, Nov. 7 to Friday, Nov. 11, 2011, professional actors and scenic designers from Stratford will share their experience and expertise with graduate and undergraduate WSU Theatre students. The five-day residency will include workshops for both acting and design students. Festival actors Seana McKenna and Laura Condlln will lead student actors into an exploration of text analysis, monologues, movement and character development through the lens of William Shakespeare's work.

"Wayne State University's BFA and MFA curriculum encourages our young theatre artists to study, rehearse and perform roles from Shakespeare's text as well as many other classical and contemporary playwrights," said Lavinia Hart, director of WSU's MFA acting program. "After graduation, the students compete for roles with the nation's regional theatres and Shakespeare Festivals. With this in mind, the Stratford Shakespeare Festival residency allows our students the opportunity to work with some of the greatest classical actors and designers in North America. The students will develop their audition pieces, monologues and scenes with outstanding role models from the Festival. Being coached by someone who not only makes a living as an actor, but who also has achieved acclaim for their particular skill and excellence, is rare and serves as a genuine inspiration for each of the students involved."

Festival designers Andrew Mestern and Jeff Scollon will expose student designers to challenge-solving techniques, as well as time management and budgeting strategies utilized in designing, building, and mounting productions in a repertory system.

"This residency is critical to my students' development," said Pegi Marshall-Amundsen, head of the MFA Scenic Design program at WSU. "Each of my students takes on a production role for each of the productions, including the role of Technical Director. As our season runs in repertory, there is a limited period of time for production design development and building. The Stratford residency will teach us new ways to improve our methods, and in turn help us to be more efficient."

This season marks the sixth year that Festival actors and teaching artists will conduct workshops in Michigan cities. WSU's Department of Theatre hopes to make the residency an annual opportunity for its students.

For more information about the workshops or the WSU Department of Theatre, please visit

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 400 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 32,000 students.