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 thousands of
This territory is
governed by two treaties: the first is
the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant of 1701, made between the
Anishinaabe and the Haudenosaunee Confederacy; an agreement to set violence
aside and peacefully share and care for the land in the Great Lakes basin. The
second is the Huron Tract Treaty of 1827, an agreement made by 18 Anishinaabek
Chiefs and the Canada Company, an agency of the British Crown. As an
organization and a company of artists, we at the Stratford Festival are
learning how we can be better treaty partners.
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.
acknowledges its history of being a colonizing culture and we are working
diligently to understand our complicity in unjust systems that have excluded
many from participating fully in the work. We are committed to continuously
evolving 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 those who lead are open to
The program is
actively looking to partner with artists, actors and theatre makers whose
talent, energy, commitment and creativity will shape the future of theatre at
the Festival and across the country. It
is devoted to
the on-going 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 rich material. And, in keeping apace
with evolving pedagogy, there will be an open engagement with both traditional
and non-conventional approaches to the work.
Although training has been part of the Festival since its
beginning, the format of a professional Conservatory program has been evolving
since its inception in 1999. This one-time 2024 iteration has been designed for
artists who are looking for an intensive opportunity to deepen and evolve their
craft in a space that serves as both an incubator and a sanctuary.
THE 2022/2023 PROGRAM is currently underway
OUTLINE OF THE 2022/2023 PROGRAM
First year - 2022
January – February (pre-season)
The program began with a
three-week Intensive which included The Binge, an introduction to the Festival
and community; combat and intimacy work, led by Fight Director Geoff
Scovell; and the Arrivals Legacy Project, led by Diane Roberts and an
interdisciplinary co-facilitation team, who engaged members in an exploration
of their root cultural voice/bodies drawn from Ancestral sources. In creating
an intercultural ensemble, we are called to the question: how do we sound the
legacies we carry and those we must leave behind?
March – October
During the first season
actors were cast in two shows, with onstage and understudy roles. They received
individual and group instruction in voice, movement, Alexander Technique,
singing and text. Training goals in these disciplines were driven by the
artists. The non-acting
participants were given positions in the season according to their discipline.
Focused instruction was
given to the understudy responsibilities as it is a vital component of a
repertory company and the demands are a learning opportunity within the
At the end of the season,
artists returned to the studio (the rehearsal hall) for six weeks, and focused
on two small exercises (Neutral Mask with David Latham and Movement with Adrienne Gould) and
rehearsed Ted Hughes's adaptation of Agamemnon with Jonathan
Goad (directing) and Adrienne Gould (movement direction).
Second year - 2023
Artists returned to
studio training for a six-week period with Yvette Nolan leading the work and
directing her adaptation of The Birds. The presentation was
performed in the rehearsal hall for an invited audience included two groups of
local high school Drama and English students.
March – October
In their second season,
artists will be featured in a production of Shakespeare’s Loves’ Labour’s Lost directed by Peter Pasyk. In addition, they are
cast in one of two additional productions and will once again receive individual
coaching throughout the repertory season.
In the final six weeks,
artists return to the studio to rehearse a play presented in the Studio Theatre
for an invited audience.
CIRCLES OF LEADERSHIP
Circles of Leadership support, inform and direct the content of the program,
the manner in which the program is delivered and the artists in the program.
Director – Antoni Cimolino
Guides the artistic
direction of the Festival, including the vision and direction of the
Director of the Birmingham Conservatory – Janine Pearson
In addition to teaching
and coaching, the Director serves as a facilitator to the work of the program
Work to fulfill the
artistic direction of the Festival, including the Conservatory
Anita Gaffney, Executive Director
David Auster, Producer
Bonnie Green, Associate Producer
Jason Miller, Creative Planning Director
Beth Russell, Casting Director
Ari Weinberg, Associate Casting Director
Jennifer Emery, Casting Assistant
Keith Barker, Director of the Foerster Bernstein New Play Development Program
Franklin Brasz, Director of Music
Esther Jun, Director of the Langham Directors’ Workshop and Artistic Associate for Planning
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
Dawnette Baldeo, Director of Human Resources
Daviorr Snipes, Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
Meineka Kulasinghe, EDI Coordinator
Hilary Nichol, Company Manager
Work to create a healthy, safe,
and inclusive work environment for all Festival members.
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 – Raoul Bhaneja, Esther Jun, Thomas Olajide, Lucy Peacock, Steve Ross, Michaela Washburn.
These artists (from both
inside and outside of the company) 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 – Lisa Cromarty, Martha Farrell
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.
Raoul Bhaneja (Associate Artist)
Walter Borden (Artistic Advisor)
Callow (design consultant)
Brad Cook (movement coach)
David Chinchilla (assistant to Geoff Scovell)
Lisa Cromarty (Emerging coach - voice)
Paul de Jong (Co-Head of Coaching)
Aria Evans (movement director)
Martha Farrell (Emerging coach - voice)
Jonathan Goad (director)
Adrienne Gould (movement/period dance/movement direction)
Renate Hanson (PA)
Lori Holmes (speech language pathology and voice coach)
Esther Jun (Associate Artist)
David Latham (Artistic Advisor, Mask teacher)
Jamie Mac (assistant to Geoff Scovell)
K. Cathy MacKinnon (Co-Head of Coaching)
Kelly McEvenue (Alexander coach)
Pulga Muchochoma (dance/movement)
Yvette Nolan (Artistic Advisor, director)
Thomas Olajide (Associate Artist)
Lucy Peacock (Associate Artist)
Diane Roberts (Rosemary Georgeson, Lopa Sircar, Gerald Trentham Arrivals Legacy Project)
Steve Ross (Associate Artist)
Geoff Scovell (fight director)
Jennie Such (singing)
Danielle Walcott (PA)
Michaela Washburn (Associate Artist)
Tim Welham (text coach)
Members of the acting company
Members of the coaching team
The company (actors, stage managers, crew, artisans, etc.) all play a role in nurturing and supporting the Conservatory artists.
These actors are not our actors.
They are the youth of the Theatre’s longing for itself.
They come through us but not from us,
And though they are with us yet they belong not to us.
We may give them our guidance but not our thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
We may provide space for their work but must not stifle their souls,
For their souls dwell in the theatre of tomorrow, which we cannot visit, not even in our dreams.
We may strive to be like them, but must not seek to make them like us.
For the theatre goes not backwards nor tarries with yesterday.
We can be the bow from which these artists as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and
They bend us with their might that their arrows may go swift and far.
Let our bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as the archer loves the arrow that flies, so they love also the bow that is stable.
-adapted from Kahlil Gibran’s poem On Children
Birmingham Conservatory Alumni
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