Mountain Shakespeare Festival Opens Conservatory Program

By Kat Fair

Remember how exciting your portrayal of the pumpkin in the third grade school play was? Or your first dance recital? Or perhaps you played (or always wanted to play) Hamlet?

Now you can relive those thrilling times of yesteryear—or create some new ones for yourself and your loved ones—by joining the Mountain Shakespeare Festival Conservatory.

The MSF Conservatory will offer a variety of workshops, performance opportunities, and courses beginning Tuesday, Oct. 14. The purpose of the Conservatory is to develop young actors while giving experienced actors an opportunity ‘to keep their chops in’ with other experienced performers.

“We are putting together a true conservatory,” said Mountain Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director Peter Kjenaas [pronounced Chennis]. “There is such a wealth of talent on this mountain, and as our plays improve in quality, we want to give our local talent a place to really grow as performers. This will prepare our younger performers not only for the stage but for entrance into the finest universities or theatre companies.”

The program will also give our younger actors the benefit of the experience and skill of seasoned performers.

Acting, improvisation, movement and voice offerings, organized by age group, are currently planned.

Classes will include work on Shakespeare, musical theatre, vocal, speech and movement styles all designed to expand your creative abilities. Teachers will include Peter Kjenaas, Michelle Morain, Holly Van Houten, Camille Farr, David Stenstrom, Pam Magee and others from the Festival Company.

“We want to offer something quite different that doesn’t compete with the other great arts organizations on the mountain,” said Festival Education Director Michelle Morain.

“We are offering a highly professional and complete actor training program that delves into all aspects of training. One key purpose is to develop actors who are ready for performance opportunities in MSF plays, showcases and readings,” Morain said.

Guest artists from the region will be brought in to train the students in special skills. Conservatory members will take field trips to see top-notch theater in Los Angeles and touring shows in Bakersfield.

Courses will be held at the Kung Fu Studio in Frazier Park or Cuddy Hall in Lake of the Woods. For more information, please call 245-3318.

This is part of the October 03, 2008 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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