It is a great
privilege to gather and share stories on this beautiful territory, which has
been the site of human activity – and therefore storytelling – for many thousands of
years. We wish to honour the ancestral guardians of
this land and its waterways: the Anishinaabe, the Haudenosaunee Confederacy,
the Wendat, and the Attiwonderonk. Today many Indigenous peoples continue to
call this land home and act as its stewards, and this responsibility extends to
all peoples, to share and care for this land for generations to come.
Festival is committed to continuously deepening our understanding of equity,
inclusion, and anti-racism and we acknowledge that the work of reconciliation
is an ongoing journey. The Conservatory seeks to create a respectful
environment of learning and exchange where every participant is asked to
embrace an inclusive learning experience with an openness of heart and humility
and where all those that lead are open to feedback.
program is actively looking to partner with artists whose talent, energy,
commitment and creativity will shape the future of the theatre both at the
Festival and across the country.
Conservatory is a paid two-year intensive which serves as an incubator for artists
to flourish and grow alongside and within the professional environment of the
Festival’s repertory company. It is focused on the development of craft required
to tackle text and language-based plays through material rich in character,
storytelling, song, dance, fights, and challenging themes. Shakespeare will be
at the centre of the exploration, but not to the exclusion of other culturally
will also be a focus to support the development of the artist’s own voice and
work: members of the program will have access to the Festival’s numerous
resources in the areas of mentorship, as well as archives, the playwriting
department, and rehearsal space.
is not an introductory training program: it is designed for artists who have
acquired a foundational training (either from a theatre school, or a
non-conventional, experiential learning process) and have professional
experience. The ensemble allows for
eight participating actors only.
invitation is such that all artists fully commit to the journey of the
training, both in the season and the studio work. Therefore, participants must
be interested and available to make the entire two-year commitment as the
Festival commits to their development.
CIRCLES OF LEADERSHIP FOR THE 2024 ENSEMBLE
of Leadership support, inform and direct both the content of the program and
way the program is delivered. All those participating in the Circles of
Leadership (whether directly or indirectly) are involved in supporting the
artists of the program.
Director – Antoni Cimolino
Guides the artistic
direction of the Festival, including the vision and direction of the
Director of the Conservatory – Janine Pearson
In addition to teaching
and coaching, the Director serves as a facilitator to the work of the program
Works to fulfill the
artistic direction of the Festival, including the Conservatory
Anita Gaffney, Executive Director
David Auster, Producer
Bonnie Green, Heather Cassels, Associate Producers
Jason Miller, Creative Planning Director
Ari Weinberg and Jennifer Emery, Casting Director and Casting Associate
Keith Barker, Director of the Foerster Bernstein New Play Development Program
Franklin Brasz, Director of Music
Esther Jun, Artistic Associate, Planning and Director of the Langham Directors’ Workshop
Julie Miles, The Meighen Forum Director
Director of Human Resources, Director of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion and the Company Manager –
Work to create a healthy,
safe and inclusive work environment for all Festival members
Director of Human Resources, TBC
Daviorr Snipes, Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Meineka Kulasinghe, EDI Coordinator
Hilary Nichol, Company Manager
Artistic Advisors – Walter Borden, David Latham, Yvette Nolan
artistic elders have tremendous experience and wisdom. They are resources in
teaching, directing and leading conversations regarding the work.
Associate Artists – Keith Barker, Jessica B.
Hill, André Sills, Michael Spencer-Davis, Sara Topham
These artists are involved
in advising and supporting the leadership and speaking to the direction of the
Conservatory, providing feedback on the work, participating in short-term
teaching, and mentoring artists in the program.
Developing Teachers and Coaches – tba
These mid-career artists
will have the opportunity to develop their pedagogical skills (in specific
areas: eg. voice, movement, text) by having the opportunity to work alongside a
chosen mentor (who is teaching or directing in the program).
Directors, Master Teachers, Teachers and Coaches
great teacher is a facilitator: one who walks alongside, one who nurtures, not
one who wishes to mould the artist in their own image.
Technique - Kelly
Mask - Josue
Period Dance, Intimacy - Adrienne
Singing - Jennie
work - Tim
Voice - Lisa
Cromarty, Paul De Jong, Martha Farrell, Jane Gooderham, Cathy MacKinnon, Janine
The company (actors, stage managers, crew, artisans, etc.) all play a role in nurturing and supporting the Conservatory artists.
The community and
surrounding area provide the program with an opportunity to explore and
participate in experiences outside of the Stratford Festival.
LOOKING to 2025-2026
This condensed program outline is subject to change
First Year - 2025
There will be an
Intensive prior to the beginning of rehearsals, providing an orientation to the
Festival and the community, and to introduce training in voice, movement,
music, text, and stage combat.
March – October
During the first season
actors will have a role(s) and understudy roles. They will also receive
individual and group instruction in voice, movement, the Alexander Technique,
singing and text. Training goals in these disciplines will be driven by the
Close of the Festival season.
November – December
At the end of the season, artists
return to the studio (the rehearsal hall) for six weeks, during which time they
will rehearse and present a play.
December – January
Three to four weeks away from the Festival
Second Year - 2026
January – February
Artists return to studio
training after a month away from the Festival. During this six-week period, the
artists will rehearse and present a play.
March – October
In the second season,
artists will be cast in two productions and will once again receive individual
coaching throughout the repertory season.
Close of the Festival season.
November – December
In the final
six weeks, artists return to the studio to rehearse a production. This
production will be presented in the Studio Theatre.
The primary focus of the studio training is
centred on the foundational work of voice (including singing), movement and
text work which will be delivered in both individual tutorials, group classes,
scene study and in-studio production exercises.
Birmingham Conservatory Alumni
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