Author: Jill Kimball

CU to offer graduate certificate program in applied Shakespeare

Cross-disciplinary immersion program brings together faculty, staff and CSF veterans

(Above: Rodney Lizcano, left, and Geoffrey Kent, right, prepare for a sword fight scene in rehearsal for “Othello,” 2015. Photo by Jennifer M Koskinen.)

Next spring and summer, a handful of lucky students will come to the University of Colorado Boulder campus to immerse themselves in all things Bard, from stage fighting to script reading to Elizabethan history. They’ll be the first in the country to earn an Applied Shakespeare graduate certificate.

The university’s departments of English and Theatre & Dance teamed up with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and Be Boulder Anywhere to create the fast-paced, hands-on course for actors, directors and Shakespeare-loving members of the general public.

“A successful actor or director needs a combination of historical knowledge, hands-on practice and world-class mentors,” says Timothy Orr, an Applied Shakespeare instructor and the Producing Artistic Director of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival. “This certificate program delivers all of these things.”

The course begins with a fully interactive three-credit survey on Shakespeare’s writing, which students take online in the spring. And the program concludes with a capstone paper in which students must demonstrate a deep understanding of Shakespeare’s prose.

But the program’s real highlight is its two-week summer immersion course. On the university’s beautiful Boulder campus, Applied Shakespeare students will be able to learn from and work with nationally recognized members of CSF’s acting company and award-winning faculty from CU Boulder’s College of Arts and Sciences.

The student cohort will spend mornings in intimate, active classrooms with actors and directors from the CSF company learning to perform and stage Shakespeare. In the afternoons, they’ll move on to scholarly explorations into the vibrant world of Elizabethan culture. From attending professional performances to discussing Shakespeare in film to in-depth acting and directing lessons, the small group of students will receive incomparably thorough lessons in every facet of Shakespeare.

“This one-of-a-kind interdisciplinary program harnesses the expertise of cutting-edge faculty in a Tier 1 research university together with the world-class artists of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival,” says CU Boulder Theatre Department Chair Bud Coleman, who will also teach part of the program. “All aspects of the program are focused on praxis; students learn not only the concepts but also how to bring them to life.”

Enrollment for the limited spots available in the Applied Shakespeare program doesn’t open to the general public until August 2016, but Be Boulder Anywhere is offering Colorado Shakespeare Festival audience members an exclusive chance to reserve a space in the program right now. Learn more here.

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