Michigan State University and Wharton Center for Performing Arts have formed a partnership with North America’s largest classical repertory theatre, the internationally renowned Stratford Festival of Canada. A series of annual teaching and performing residencies in East Lansing provide students and community members with opportunities to meet professional theatre artists, gain insight into the creative process and explore the works of classic playwrights through master classes and lecture-demonstrations.
The Stratford Festival residency expands on Wharton Center’s tradition of offering a diverse array of educational opportunities to enhance the understanding and appreciation of performing arts.
During the series of residencies, the first of which took place in late October and early November 2006, teaching artists from the Stratford Festival were integrated into classrooms of several different colleges to discuss topics from the classic works of Shakespeare including historical/cultural perspectives of plays, methods of staged interpretations and careers in theatre. During the most recent residency, MSU Department of Theatre students had extensive opportunities to learn about and experience stage combat, set design and theme/voice coaching. Additionally, community members enjoyed opportunities to experience Stratford through staged readings and public lectures, including a discussion with award-winning director Richard Monette, as part of the World View Lecture Series.
Some actors visiting MSU this year include Graham Abbey, Sean Arbuckle, Don Carrier, Laura Condlln, Keira Loughran, Sara Topham, Nicolas Van Burek, Jeffrey Wetsch and set designer John Pennoyer. The actors currently are in productions such as “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Don Juan,” “Coriolanus,” “Henry IV, Part 1,” “London Assurance,” “Twelfth Night,” “The Duchess of Malfi,” “The Liar,” “The Glass Menagerie,” and “Ghosts.”
The artist-in-residency program in 2008 will offer MSU students and community a chance to interact and learn from some of the theatre’s most talented actors. Events include an additional discussion with Richard Monette, panel discussions with the actors and readings of new Canadian scene work with the actors.
MSU’s artist-in-residency program with the Stratford Festival of Canada works in partnership with the Wharton Center for Performing Arts, the College of Arts and Letters, the Department of English, the Department of Theatre, the English Language Center, the College of Education, the MSU Honors College, James Madison College, and the Residential College in Arts and Humanities.