Artistic Director. Originally from Charlottesville, Virginia, Sara is a director, teacher, and the Artistic Director/co-founder of the Brooklyn-based theater company Tiltyard. She is also the theater critic for New York Magazine and Vulture.com and and the recipient of the 2016-17 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism. Recent projects include Macbeth and The Comedy of Errors with Two River Theater's A Little Shakespeare program, MIDSUMMER (which she co-adapted from the play by William Shakespeare) with Tiltyard, and The Master and Margarita, adapted by Edward Kemp from the novel by Mikhail Bulgakov. In 2015 Sara served as the Artistic Director of the Yale Summer Cabaret, where she directed the original production of MIDSUMMER and Sarah Ruhl's adaptation of Virginia Woolf's Orlando. She is a Drama League Fellow and a graduate of the Acting Shakespeare program at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and has taught at Primary Stages and the graduate acting program at the New School in New York City. In her work, she combines a lifelong love of Shakespeare and classical texts with an interest in contemporary ensemble training and devised theater, striving for a rigorous and dynamic use of language, fused with passionate, physical storytelling, vibrant visual worlds, and a spirit of joy, collaboration, and play. Sara holds a BA in Theater from Yale University and an MFA in Directing from Yale School of Drama.
Resident Director, Master Class Teacher. Benjamin is excited to be making his debut with the Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford and to be collaborating once again with Artistic Director Sara Holdren. As a company member with the American Shakespeare Center, Benjamin has directed nationally touring productions of Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, Julius Caesar, Much Ado About Nothing, and the original plays Shakespeare On Ice and ‘Diggers as part of the biennial Blackfriars Conference. He also helmed youth productions of 2 Henry IV, All’s Well That Ends Well, The Winter’s Tale, The Tempest, Cymbeline, and Othello. He has appeared as an actor with St. Lois Rep, PlayMakers Rep, American Globe Theatre, Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre, Virginia Stage, Elm Shakespeare, Cortland Rep, and spent over ten seasons at the American Shakespeare Center where he played the title roles in Richard III, Macbeth, and Hamlet Q1. His extensive fight direction credits include productions at ASC, PlayMakers Rep, and the Shakespeare Forum, and as a teacher he has led courses at Southern Connecticut State University, UNC Chapel Hill, the Shakespeare Forum, and Mary Baldwin University, where was named the 2019 McDermott Teaching Artist in Residence for the Shakespeare & Performance MFA program. Benjamin received his MFA in Acting from The University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s Professional Actor Training Program where he was also awarded the David Hammond Award for Excellence in Dramatic Art. He is a recognized Advanced Actor/Combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors, a proud member of Actors Equity, and holds a black belt in American Freestyle Karate.
Community & Educational Outreach Director. Kelly is a NYC-based actor, singer, dancer, director, and teaching artist. As an actor, Kelly has appeared throughout the country and NYC, as Hermia/ Starveling in MIDSUMMER (Tiltyard, directed by SA@S Artistic Director Sara Holdren), Hank understudy and dance captain in THE APPLE BOYS (HERE Arts Center), Ruby in Dames at Sea (Roxy Regional Theatre), Laura in Laura Ingalls Wilder (ArtsPower National Touring Theatre), and many more. As a teaching artist, Kelly has trained with and works for Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. In the fall of 2018, Kelly began The Mighty Quinn Foundation’s Shakespeare in Schools programming by directing a touring production of A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM. Kelly was a member of SA@S’s inaugural ensemble (Outrageous Fortune) and first-ever Alumni Company. Kelly studied Shakespeare in Performance at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London and graduated from NYU Tisch School of the Arts, where she was a member of The New Studio on Broadway.
Program Coordinator. Olivia is an actor, director, musician, and playwright with a BA in Theatre Arts and a minor in Creative Writing from Lawrence University, including a term with the Gaiety School of Acting in Dublin. A member of SA@S’s inaugural ensemble (Outrageous Fortune) and 2016 Alumni Company, she recently directed a one-act with her former high school for a state competition and appeared in Chicago’s Rhinoceros Fringe (Joan of Arc). If missing, find her somewhere in the woods.
Residential Coordinator. Brendan is the cook, maker, tuner and fixer for the Shaksepeare Academy at Stratford. He has been with SA@S for three years, and is excited to return for the 2018 season. He is a graduate of Purchase College, where he studied anthropology with a concentration in ethnomusicology. Besides ensuring things are running smoothly at the Academy, he can be found recording, knitting, bird watching or pursuing music pedagogy.
The Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford is a project of The Mighty Quinn Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charity dedicated to creating educational and theatrical experiences for the next generation of theater artists. To honor Quinn Rooney's passion for learning and love of theater, the Foundation provides creative opportunities for high school and college students. The example of Quinn Rooney's utmost joy, indefatigable generosity, and love for the fellowship of sharing theater with friends is at the heart of the Shakespeare Academy at Stratford's founding values. During the ensemble's time in Stratford, the Foundation provides local housing, social events, community outreach, and other support. It also awards the Quinn Rooney Shakespeare Scholarship, a need-based tuition award that helps students attend SA@S. The Foundation also supports additional artistic programming in Stratford.
Our Masterclass Teachers for the 2019 Summer Season will be announced soon! In the past, students at SA@S have trained in disciplines from stage combat to clown, Alexander Technique to Droznin, voice & speech to Shakespeare’s text and ensemble devising. Our past instructors include Fay Simpson, David Neumann, Zachary Fine, Ted van Griethuysen, Andrew Wade, Rachel Jett, Darryl Quinton, Ron Carlos, Julie Foh, Joan Frost, and more.