The Taming of the Shrew:
Summer Youth Shakespeare Ensemble Season 18
Acting Up (in Acadiana), a small professional theatre company at the Acadiana Center for the Arts announces that registration for The Summer Youth Shakespeare Ensemble's eighteenth season has begun. The 16-day intensive performing arts camp runs July 11-26, 2020 with performances of THE TAMING OF THE SHREW on July 23, 24, 25 and 26, 2020; all activities take place at the Acadiana Center for the Arts. Students ages 10-Senior in high school play all the roles in this play within a play comedy—with a twist!
Students study all aspects of the performing arts with professional faculty members and an extensive support staff. Faculty and staff include Hector LaSala, set design; Chad Trahan, costume design; Amy Waguespack, acting and directing, Shane Courville, music, and numerous members of Acting Up (in Acadiana), including Sarah Mikayla Brown, George Saucier, and Hannah Briggs. Each day begins with an hour-long company class followed by small group workshops where students study in age and experienced based groups. Afternoons are spent applying what they have learned in their workshops to their full production of Shakespeare’s THE TAMING OF THE SHREW.
Tuition for the camp is $600 and can be paid in installments after a non-refundable deposit is received; some partial scholarships are available. For more information or to register by mail call (337) 739-4273.
Summer Youth Shakespeare Ensemble was founded in 2003 by Acting Up (In Acadiana)'s director Amy Waguespack. The camp takes place for two weeks every July at the Acadiana Center for the Arts. Children and youth ages 10 through High School Senior put on an entire Shakespeare production in only eleven days. Students go through rotations of Acting, Music, and Movement classes every morning, followed by intense rehearsals in the afternoon. They are immersed in Shakespeare's language and in the world of a well rounded performer; learning about all of the pieces that come together in making an excellent show: actors, dancers, musicians, lighting, costume design, set design, graphic design, and stage management. SYSE culminates in a weekend of shows performed at the James Devin Moncus Theatre. The company members of Acting Up, together with many of our collaborators, and SYSE Alumni comprise the camp's staff. Now going on its 16th year, Summer Youth Shakespeare Ensemble has fostered several "generations" of young performers who live, work, and study all over the country and abroad.
SYSE grew out of my frustration with college aged students who thought that Shakespeare’s plays were written in a foreign language. I wanted to catch students young and teach them to savor that language. That happens by making Shakespeare’s plays relevant, approachable, interesting and dynamic. By bringing action to those words. By playing with the brilliantly written heightened English language with themes that are as true today as they were when they were written.
Students ages 10 through senior in high school immerse themselves in Shakespeare and the Performing Arts in this 16-day program. I compare it to a language immersion program. With an extensive professional staff, students take classes in Music, Dance, Acting and Design in the morning. Following a one hour lunch, students apply what they’ve learned in those classes in acting, music and dance rehearsals for the actual play. The program ends with four public performances of a full length Shakespeare.
Amy Waguespack, Founder & Director
From the 2011 production of As You Like It:
"It doesn't feel like work at all," said Destin Briant, 17, a sixth-year member, who played Touchstone. "It feels like just perfecting your craft and doing the best job you can at the play."
"These kids do amazing things," said Brooke LeBleu, administrative assistant and alumna of SYSE. "They really put forth the effort because they're having fun while they do it. I think that that's really the most inspiring part. You see them work so hard and not complain and put everything they have into this because they really want to do it and they really want to be here."
"I really love acting and I'm very serious about it," said Sophia Brazda, 10, a third-year member, who played Hymen. "I know that seems kind of funny, I guess, to some people because I'm, like, so little, but I really am passionate about it. Whenever you feel really good about something, really succeed in it, it's just kind of raising that bar because you know you wanna do it. And then, if you just work hard enough, you can."
"I decide to come back every year because this is the highlight of my year," said Chance Briant, 17, a sixth-year member, who played Orlando. "I can't think of any two weeks where I have more fun or where I'm in better company because I love everyone and we're all very close. Just doing the play and performing is one of my passions. I love to entertain and there's no better opportunity to get to do it, especially with people that you love."