Students Love Shakespeare at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater

Shakespeare

The W. Daniel Mills Apprenticeship at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater

This summer the W. Daniel Mills Apprenticeship branched out beyond its apprenticeship program at the Garden Theater. Twenty-six students were enabled the opportunity to receive professional theater instruction at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Operating in partnership with the University of Central Florida, it is lovingly referred to as Orlando Shakes.

Beginning on June 6, the students who ranged in age from rising high school freshmen to rising college freshmen (about 14 to 18 years old), started an intensive four-week instruction period, which included table work, exploration of meter, status, voice and movement. The end of this instruction period culminated with performances of Measure for Measure at Orlando Shakes’ Margeson Theater.

The Young Company

According to Orlando Shakes Director of Education Anne Hering, the summer educational theater troupe at Orlando Shakes known as The Young Company (TYC), isn’t a new program. However, the addition of the Mills apprenticeship affords more students access to it, granting them the ability to continue their theater arts education.

University High School student and Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts teen ambassador Seth Shockley says the apprenticeship helped him develop his craft in a space that felt safe and gave him the liberty to learn from his mistakes and achieve success.

“TYC truly is theater in the healthiest form of theater,” Shockley says. He’s also deeply appreciative for being an apprentice. “I just want to express my deepest gratitude to the Mills family for providing the means which made this incredible experience possible for me,” Shockley says.

More to Offer

Likewise, Raina Grabowski, says TYC gave her the chance to gain even more theatrical experience and boosted her confidence to start the college theater program audition process.

But the apprenticeship program doesn’t end there. This month, apprentices will continue their professional instruction by attending monthly master classes with Orlando Shakes’ theater artists and visiting guest artists. These classes include college prep auditions, stage makeup, Shakespeare, scenery, lighting, and sound.  

Lastly, apprentices will have the opportunity to be awarded stipends for work opportunities in the Orlando Shakes 2022-23 season.

Above all students say that the apprenticeship helped reinforce their love for theater and support of each other. “Not only did I find a new group of friends, but I met a group who were just as passionate about theater and Shakespeare as I am,” says Edgewater High School student Lilly Yandell. “Many young students think Shakespeare is boring but at TYC, Shakespeare is fun and inspiring. I have never seen a room full of teenagers cheer because a character has 12 syllables in one of their lines,” Yandell says.

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Written by Tarre Beach

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