Utah Shakespeare Festival Acting Fellowship
Southern Utah University has a partnership with the Utah Shakespeare Festival to provide 5 SUU students with an acting fellowship each season. For the 2018 season I was chosen as one of the five fellows. I was cast in Henry VI Part One and The Merchant of Venice, as well as an understudy in Merry Wives of Windsor. I also had many internal understudy tracks in both Henry and Merchant. The Fellowship is an amazing opportunity and allows for students to work with and learn from professional actors and designers. On top of being involved with the Acting Company, I led backstage tours and earned my stage combat certification in hand to hand and single sword. I was also working in the Box Office and assisted in the development and running of the "Send a Flower to Your Favorite Actor" program at the festival.
Experience During the Season
I was involved with three different productions at USF during my season as a fellow. Merchant of Venice, Henry VI Part One, and The Merry Wives of Windsor. In Merchant of Venice, I mostly did a small ensemble track during the show. However, Melinda Pfundstein, the director of the production, added a "carnival-esque" pre-show where I was a featured performer. In Henry VI Part One, I played the Governor of Paris, English Captain, and other ensemble roles. Fan Fact, I also had the most costume changes than any other outdoor track that season. In Merry Wives of Windsor, I understudied Slender (I also had many internal understudy tracks in the other two productions).
As a student, I learned so much from the other artists around me. I worked with some incredible directors including Paul Barnes, Henry Woronicz, and Melinda Pfundstein. Aside from being involved with these productions, I participated in two play readings through the REACH program, a program to raise money to bring casting directors to Cedar City. I was involved with Onion, written by John Ahlin and Awake Young King, written by Michael Harding.
The Utah Shakespeare Festival is an amazing place for education. A few times a week, the actors and technicians in the company lead guests through all three theatre spaces, backstage, dressing rooms, costume shop, and the grounds. Telling them about the history of the festival, backstage stories, and inside facts about the productions. I led backstage tours twice a week while during my season at the festival and made many memorable connections with the guests. This was one of my favorite parts about my fellowship that summer.
Stage Combat Certification
With the fellowship, came a scholarship for us to receive internship credit and take one other class during the summer semester at SUU. I decided to take a stage combat certification class taught by Geoffrey Kent, who I was already working with on Henry VI Part I. So it was a summer full of stage combat. The class met 5/week, 4 hours a day, for the last half of the summer. When the class concluded we took our certification exams for both Hand to Hand and Single Sword. I received a pass in both areas.
(Left to Right) Tarah Flanagan, Chad Henwood, Terri Alexander, Josh Jeffers, and Kristina Harding