by DeeGee Lester
“Methinks” the people of Nashville have a great opportunity to fully embrace Shakespeare with the launching (February 8) by the Nashville Shakespeare Festival of the new School of Nashville Shakes. Directed by actor/teaching artist Santiago Sosa, the idea for the creation of this multi-level school grew out of last year’s popular summer intensive Shakespeare class that brought together the talents of actors from 16 to 60 and culminated in a sold-out performance showcase.
This exciting school initiative will train newcomers to Shakespeare, engage young actors with a desire to further sharpen their acting “tools,” and offer longtime performers an opportunity to exercise and stretch those muscles unique to the performance of Shakespeare.
“We are trying to grow and create a bigger Shakespeare community through these classes,” says Sosa. “The classes are for everyone who loves Shakespeare—from those who just always wanted to take classes to those who continue to Sosa is a seasoned Shakespeare veteran. Born in Guayaquil, Ecuador, he has a BFA from Texas State, an MFA from the University of Wisconsin, and has both stage and teaching experience in Shakespeare companies around the U.S., including Oregon, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. He recently performed the role of Edmund in the Nashville Shakespeare Festival’s winter production of King Lear. In addition to performing, he will serve as director/mentor in both the School of Nashville Shakes as well as the Festival’s apprentice company with their own separate productions (including next summer’s production of Macbeth).
“It is our hope that many actors will take the classes hoping to use what they have learned in order to maximize their chances in auditions,” Sosa says.
The School of Nashville Shakes will eventually offer students the opportunit
y to progress through five levels of training. Starting February 8, two levels of classes are offered (6–9 p.m.) over eight-week sessions with the location to be announced. Level 1 will meet on Monday evenings, and Level 2 will meet on Wednesday evenings. The cost for either level is $275 or, for those wishing more intense training by combining levels, the cost is $500 for both. With the completion of Levels 1 and 2, students will have the opportunity to proceed through the additional three levels of training.
In addition, the Nashville Shakespeare Festival will offer improv classes directed by Erica Elam, an alumna of The Second City who has taught in Chicago and England. The cost for those classes is also $275.