Our Young Company
Hampshire Shakespeare Company has always involved young people in its Shakespeare Under The Stars productions. Young actors from the community have often been cast as sprites, servants, and in other small roles. In some plays, such as Romeo and Juliet, teen actors have been cast in principal roles. However, there was never any structured apprenticeship program until the 2000 season.
In the summer of 2000 a more formal program was instituted to provide training for young actors. The Young Company is a group of apprentice players from the community, ages 10 to 18. Young Company members are cast in smaller roles in one of the company's mainstage productions, and then step into the principal roles for their own production of the play. During the rehearsal process they are mentored by the adult actors, and work closely with a performance coach who gives training in voice, movement, character and scene study. They then have one final intensive week of rehearsals in the principal roles, and present a weekend of performances.
In its first season, the Young Company produced The Tempest with a cast of 20 young actors. Click here to read a feature story about this production which appeared in the Amherst Bulletin.
The 2001 Young Company production was As You Like It. Andrew Lichtenberg directed the mainstage production, and Laura Patnode directed the Young Company production. Once again, the Young Company actors worked with performance coach Stephen Eldredge, a professional actor and theater instructor. Teen actors were cast in smaller roles in the Mainstage production, and in principal roles in the Young Company production. Additional young actors (8 to 12 years old) joined this company for one intensive week of rehearsal culminating in a fully produced weekend of performances, July 13th - 15th at the Hartsbrook School, Hadley. Click here to read a feature story about this production which appeared in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
Our 2003 Young Company production was Love's Labors Lost, with performances August 1-3 at the Hartsbrook School in Hadley. Click here to see some photos of the production.
The 2004 Young Company production was Hamlet. Ben Ware directed the mainstage production, and Lucinda Kidder directed the Young Company production. Once again, the Young Company actors were given the opportunity to work with veteran Shakespeare directors, coaches, and performers. (Click here for more information about our Young Company leaders.)
Teen actors were cast in smaller roles in the Mainstage production, and in principal roles in the Young Company production. Additional young actors (8 to 12 years old) joined this company for one intensive week of rehearsal culminating in a fully produced weekend of performances, July 30 - August 1 at the Hartsbrook School, Hadley. Click here to read a feature story about this production which appeared in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.
Young Company Leaders
Steve Henderson has won awards as a playwright (most recently a Robert Lehan Award) and actor (CTA). Steve is a co-founder, writer and performer with Disturbed Theatre, the Valley's premier sketch comedy troupe. His original one man show, "Gerry Hatrick" has made audiences throughout the eastern United States laugh, cry and maybe even think. Steve studied drama at Syracuse University and since then has been in over fifty productions. Steve has worked with Northampton Children's Theater as an actor, writer and parent, co-directed with the Drama Studio in Teen Scene and co-directed "As You Like It" at Northampton High School. Steve explains his feelings about working with HSC this way: YEAH!
Ben Ware is a longtime member of HSC. He has been performing with the Company since 1995. He has numerous directing credits including HSC's productions of Much Ado About Nothing, The Winters Tale and last year's mainstage production of Hamlet. He is currently directing Proof for ACT.
Jeff Lord. A certified fight choreographer, Jeff has choreographed fight scenes for many HSC productions and has taught stage combat workshops. He is a certified member of SAFD (Society of American Fight Directors) and is head fencing coach at Hampshire College. Jeff spent 2 years in Japan and took a shodan in both kendo and iaido. He teaches stage combat at PVPA in Hadley.
Emily List has been associated with HSC for five years. She has appeared in Young Company productions of As You Like It and The Winters Tale. She has also been an assistant for HSC Summer Workshops, a company dancer for Amherst Ballet and a veteran of Amherst Community Theater. She will enter her 3rd year at Randolph-Macon Woman's College in Virginia this Fall.