As the birthplace of Shakespeare and home to some of the world’s most famous theaters, many would say that England is the ideal place to study acting. In a ten-week intensive program, nine students from the University of Hartford’s Hartt School are doing just that. They are studying Shakespeare at the Drama Studio London. The study abroad opportunity is part of the University’s Actor Training Program, which prepares students for careers on stage and in front of the camera.
“I have never been more inspired by my craft,” says Madeleine Stevens ’17 about the experience. “I have been challenged on academic and emotional levels.”
In the intensive Shakespeare program, the students practice various Shakespeare histories, comedies, and dramas. Madeleine has discovered that the British approach to performing Shakespeare is different than the American approach. It is much more text based and technically demanding. The American approach, she says, focuses on emotions.
“At first it took me off guard, but it has proved to be very valuable,” Madeleine explains. “I now have the tools to explore Shakespeare’s plays to their fullest potential.”
Not only has Madeleine learned how to be a better actor, but she says she is learning to rely more on herself. While living alone and having to figure out finances, she has been forced to be proactive and outgoing.
“Traveling abroad has made me much more confident and independent as an artist and as a young adult,” she says. Before the training classes began in London, she traveled to Rome, Prague, and Budapest with some of the other students. After she finishes her training in March, she plans to go to Paris for spring break.
Now Madeleine is convinced she can pursue the career she wants. “Thanks to training at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School and this training in London, I feel confident that I will be prepared to pursue a wide variety of acting opportunities,” she says. When she graduates in May 2017, she wants to move to New York or Los Angeles to find a job in theater or film.