photo by Buck Lewis Photography

photo by Buck Lewis Photography

A Message on the Stratford Festival Theater

In the early hours of the morning on Sunday, January 13, the historic Stratford Festival Theater caught fire and was ultimately destroyed by the blaze. We at SA@S are deeply saddened by the loss of this wonderful historic space — and we want to make clear that our program is alive and well. We will continue to bring top-notch immersive theater training and joyous, inventive site-specific productions of Shakespeare's plays to Stratford this summer. We mourn for the theater because it was a gorgeous, communally meaningful monument — a space full of history and legend and a proud, beautiful symbol of a legacy of art-making in Stratford. It was also, as all buildings are, only a building, and one that had been empty for many years. Our program has always performed on the theater's grounds, never inside its walls (its interior was no longer safe for performance use). We have performed Hamlet in a parking lot, Cymbeline in a living room, and The Tempest in a wooded glade on the theater's expansive grounds — to quote Peter Quince, “this green plot shall be our stage, this hawthorn-brake our tiring house,” as they always have been. We'll miss our big, beautiful, storied old friend and all that it meant to us, to the town of Stratford, and to Shakespeare lovers and theater makers across the country. And we will continue the work. We've got stories to tell this summer and are unhindered in our preparation for SA@S's sixth season. We look forward to presenting Coriolanus and The Winter's Tale—a story of rebirth and redemption—in the theater's honor and in the spirit in which it was originally created: a spirit of creative adventure and communal joy in the possibilities of Shakespeare, ensemble, and shared artistic experience. “Be cheerful; wipe thine eyes. Some falls are means the happier to arise.”

—Sara Holdren, Artistic Director

14 Actors. 6 Weeks. 2 Plays. 1 Ensemble.

My experience with Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford was transformational—incredibly challenging, rigorous, rewarding, fulfilling, immersive.
— Simon, Summer 2016

The Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford is a six-week summer theater program that uniquely combines rigorous training, ensemble collaboration, and the opportunity to rehearse and perform two Shakespeare plays in repertory.

Each year we select a fourteen-member ensemble from around the U.S and abroad, to train and perform together on the property that once housed the legendary American Shakespeare Festival Theater.

Living and working side by side, as an ensemble, is a hallmark of the SA@S experience. Mornings are spent studying with prominent instructors and masterclass teachers from programs such as the Juilliard School, the Yale School of Drama, and NYU Tisch/Grad Acting.

Afternoons and evenings are devoted to rehearsal for two Shakespeare productions, to be performed for the public in a repertory festival during the final ten days of the program. In 2019, our productions will be The Winter’s Tale and Coriolanus.

Our approach emphasizes inclusion, collaboration and community—inspired by our hometown of Stratford's history producing Shakespeare.

It was so important for me personally to be on the grounds of the Shakespeare Festival. I think, especially with Shakespeare, it is important to realize that you are part of a tradition of great artists and different times. It was fantastic to see the theater every day behind us.
— Ron, Summer 2015

Summer 2019 Program Details


Applications are now open for the 2019 ensemble. SA@S is designed for students finishing high school or currently attending college, as well as recent college graduates. We seek a diverse ensemble from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. Past students have traveled from as close as Connecticut and as far as Florida, Washington, Wisconsin, Europe, and Asia. Prior training and/or experience in theater or Shakespeare are not a requirement. Rather, we look for evidence of the applicant's desire to create, a strong imagination, and readiness to jump in, contribute, and take risks as part of a collaborative ensemble.

The program dates are June 20 - August 6. All students perform in both productions and rehearse and train intensively as part of the repertory company. Tuition is $4000, and includes housing for the full six weeks of the program. SA@S is a program of the Mighty Quinn Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to artistic and educational opportunities for the next generation of theater artists.