Monday, March 02, 2009



The Public Theater
is making a lot of important news. The last few years have been one major initiative after another. Here are some important recent events.


The Shakespeare Lab, the theater’s professional actor development program, a six week training program that is the gold standard for American Shakepeare studies, will be tuition-free in 2009!!!

“The decision to make the program free this year builds on The Public’s long tradition of free Shakespeare in the Park and the theater’s ongoing commitment to building a community of classically trained artists.”

Shakespeare Lab 2009 will run from June 15-July 24. Participants must be completely available for this entire period, plus the entire time through August 9 when they will be preparing and touring a one hour performance of Shakespeare at venues around the city.

“Under the direction of Barry Edelstein, The Shakespeare Lab immerses a carefully-selected company of professional, mid-career actors in a six-week intensive exploring the rigors, challenges, and joys of performing Shakespeare. The Shakespeare Lab is a unique opportunity for working American actors in mid-career to hone their craft and expand their classical skills. It aims to build a strong and diverse collective of classically trained actors which will expand The Public Theater’s community of artists.”

“This is a major step for The Shakespeare Lab, and stems from the ongoing democratic nature of the Public Theater,” said Public Theater Artistic Director Oskar Eustis. “We need to make the best training available to the most diverse group of artists, regardless of their ability to pay. I am proud that in this tough economic climate we are able to make this move.”

“The Lab’s workshops in Shakespearean performance are led by some of the most respected figures in American classical theater training, including Christopher Bayes, Lisa Benevides, Barry Edelstein, Robert Perillo, J. Steven White, Grace Zandarski, Janet Zarish and others. Guest artists, including eminent members of The Public Theater community and other leading Shakespeareans, will frequently visit the Shakespeare Lab.”

“The Shakespeare Lab was founded in 1995, and in the 14 years since, numerous members of the Shakespeare Lab Company have gone on to secure roles in the Park, at The Public Theater, on and off-Broadway, and in regional theaters, in addition to work in film and television. Past Shakespeare Lab participants include Elena Shaddow, Nana Mensah and Jennifer Kidwell, who performed in The Public Theater’s workshop of The Bacchae, directed by JoAnne Akalaitis; Ryan McCarthy, who appeared in The Public’s 2007 production of King Lear with Kevin Kline; Amir Arison, who will appear in the upcoming Public Theater production of Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them; Julio Monge, who has appeared in many Shakespeare productions at The Public, most recently Hamlet in Central Park; and Nancy Lemenager, who recently concluded a stint as Velma in Chicago on Broadway.”

Several years ago, I spoke with Amir Arison, when he was in a production sponsored by the Sloan Foundation at the Tribeca Film Festival, and he told me how vaulable the Shakespeare Lab program had been for him.

Membership in the Shakespeare Lab Company is by audition only. Requirements and other information can be found at, and more specifically at

But that's not all! The Public Theater does not just provide free Shakespeare training for professional actors...

There are two other Shakespeare training programs this summer, this time for school children, also both free:
And The Public is also launching an outreach program:

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