Info night planned for Workshop

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In 2009, Catherine Hasbrook, Tadden Hunter, Cody Svozil and Cienna Rominger played the four mixed up lovers in a Winters Shakespeare Workshop production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Photo by Woody Fridae

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Winters Shakespeare Workshop, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this summer, will be hosting an information night about the program on Thursday, Apr. 12, 7 p.m. at the Winters Community Library. Interested actors and their families are welcome to come and hear about the program and this summer’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Anyone interested in signing up for Winters Shakespeare Workshop is encouraged to attend. The event will involve an overview of the program, a summary of the play and an opportunity to ask questions. The director will address common concerns that new actors have, such as fear of stage fright or difficulty memorizing Shakespearian language.

The production team is encouraging actors to sign up quickly. There will be application forms available at the information night.

Winters Shakespeare Workshop is a five-week summer program for students ages 13-19. Scholarships are available, and everyone who joins the program will have a speaking roll in the final production. This teen theater camp is unique to the region, as it always ends in a full production of a play.

While other summer programs, such as Camp Shakespeare in Davis, teach acting, the teenagers don’t get to actually put on a play. In the Winters Shakespeare Workshop, students see the project through from start to finish, from reading for parts on Sunday, May 20, to taking the final bow on closing night on Saturday, Jun. 21.

Mary Lou Linvill, the program’s producer and one of the original founders, believes that this aspect of the workshop is incredibly important. She recalls that every year parents have come to her on the night of the performance, amazed at what the actors were able to accomplish in five weeks.

Nancy Adams, a parent of former Winters Shakespeare Workshop actors, shared what the experience meant to her and her family.

Adams says that participating in the workshop was, “literally life-changing” for her children. After watching them at rehearsals and in performances she could see how the program taught them they could do things they never thought they were capable of, like getting up in front of a large audience. She says that they learned that even though they were scared, they could go onstage and accomplish what they had set out to do.

As Adams illustrates with the story of her family’s experience, the benefits of theater go beyond community involvement, extra-curricular activities and padding for college applications. Studies have shown that high school students who participate in theater often see a boost in their self-esteem.

In 2013, the Journal of Educational Psychology published a study which found that students who were involved in art programs, such as dance classes or theater, usually performed better in their academics. Researchers found that students who got involved with art in high school not only had higher homework completion and academic motivation than their peers, but that they also reported having higher educational aspirations and life satisfaction.

For this reason, among many others, the production team of Winters Shakespeare Workshop is committed to bringing opportunities for art to Winters teenagers. Linvill is committed to hiring experts from the community to teach new skills to every summer’s cast of teenagers. Generations of actors have studied public speaking, dance, stage combat and Shakespeare on the old Community Park stage.

This summer the troupe will be performing on the new park’s stage, which is larger and more elaborate than the last one. As Winters Shakespeare Workshop nears that beginning of its 20th season, they are excited to bring this opportunity to a new generation of teenagers.

Flyers for Winters Shakespeare Workshop are located in the library. Anyone with questions about the program can email them to wintersshakespeare2018@gmail.com.

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