Postgrad Dispatch: On Tour With Shakespeare
This summer I will be on tour as Julia in Shakespeare’s The Two Gentlemen of Verona with The Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford. The play is a comedy about two best friends from Verona who move to Milan and get hopelessly mixed up in love when they both fall for the same girl, even though one of them already has a fiancé, who has followed them to Milan, disguised as a boy.
I first learned about this company in the spring of 2016. One of my professors emailed me about the theater, and served as my reference when I auditioned to be a part of their main company. I lived in Stratford, Connecticut (where the theater is based) for most of the summer, training and performing in repertory as Queen Elizabeth in Richard III and Nathaniel/stage manager) in Love’s Labour’s Lost.
Each year, the company invites back a group of actors they have worked with before to take a show on tour, and I am thrilled to have been invited to be a part of this year’s touring Alumni Company. I have wanted to be part of a touring production for years, and it is so exciting to get to be in this show with such a great cast. I got to work with all of these actors last summer in Richard III and Love’s Labour’s Lost, and I love knowing I am going to get to share the stage this summer with these talented, wonderful people once again.
I have always enjoyed Shakespeare’s works, but at Washington College my knowledge and love for Shakespeare expanded exponentially. All of my professors have been supportive of me following this path but two in particular, Professor Brendon Fox in the theatre department and Professor Kathryn Moncrief in the English department, really helped foster my love. I used to feel awkward about loving Shakespeare so much, but between the two of them, they encouraged me and helped me grow as both a Shakespearean scholar and performer. They have always been willing to work with me or just sit for hours in their offices talking about anything and everything.
One of the hardest things about graduating is knowing that I won’t be able to wander down to their offices and knock on the door when I want to talk. They have been there for me every step of the way, and if it weren’t for them and the opportunities I have had to explore Shakespeare at WC, I don’t know if I would have the confidence to dive into this field now.
The theatre department has also helped me grow as a person and performer. More than anything else, it has been my time there that has given me the confidence I have today and the courage to try things, even when I know I could fail. They’ve taught me to believe in myself both on and off stage. Without my time there, I don’t know what would be next for me. That department has been my home for four years, and even though I am sad to say goodbye, I know that the opportunities I have now coming up for me are because of who I have become with their help.