Canada's Stratford Festival Conservatory for Classical Theatre Training, which inaugurated a trial seven-week session in January, has launched an expanded 15-week session offering an intense, comprehensive approach to artist development. Unique in Canada, the Stratford program was developed over several years by artistic director Richard Monette, general manager Antoni Cimolino and Michael Mawson, principal of the Conservatory and director of theatre training.
Monette described the excitement of realizing that the conservatory was commencing its first full-length session. "The ongoing support of the program from our recently launched For All Time Endowment Foundation will enable us to fulfill our need for classically trained artists in perpetuity," Monette said.
Applications were received from across the country for the fall 1999 session and 400 individuals were auditioned by Mr. Mawson for the 12 available spaces in the program. Those selected to participate in this session are Molly Jane Atkinson, Andrew Burr, Wayne Davis, Aaron Franks, Michele Graff, Robert Hamilton, Deborah Hay, Haysam Kadri, Laurier Ann Levier, Rami Posner, Michel Protti and Michael Wacholtz.
The conservatory's curriculum augments theatre school training. Intensive sessions are conducted in voice and movement, history and background research, interpretation of and immersion in classical texts and acting, rehearsal of scenes and a studio workshop. Participants become part of the Festival's 2000 season Young Company and use what they have learned to portray classical roles in the season's 35 weeks of rehearsal and performance. Conservatory participants pay no tuition fees and receive a weekly Equity salary while enrolled in this program.
The Conservatory is the first program to be funded out of the Stratford Festival's Endowment Foundation. For information contact the Stratford Festival, P.O. Box 520 , Stratford, ON, Canada N5A 6V2 1-800-561-1233, ext. 2297, (519) 271-4040. -- By Murdoch McBride