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Actors from the London Stage perform Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, Oct. 1-4, Austin and Winedale.

Wed, August 20, 2008

Pre-residency Events:

Wed. 9/24, 6:30pm:

"Overthrowing Law: Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale." Zipporah Wiseman, Law Professor; Alan Friedman, UT Coordinator, AFTLS and Faculty Advisor.

Spirit of Shakespeare: Scenes from The Winter's Tale; James Loehlin, Director, Shakespeare at Winedale; Matt Radford, Associate Director, AFTLS.

Eidman Court Room, UT Law School

Fri. 9/26, 3pm:

John Rumrich, Department of English, "Reconciliation in The Winter's Tale: The Literary Friendship of Robert Greene and William Shakespeare."

Tom Lea Room, Harry Ransom Center.

During the week-long residency, the actors will conduct classes and workshops that explore the relationship of page and stage, language and meaning. They will also coach students in scenes from Shakespeare, help them examine the many ways scenes can be understood and performed, lead students in analyzing and speaking verse and teach them about metrical stresses and rhythm, cues, blocking and stage breathing.

The Winter's Tale will be performed at 8pm, Oct. 1-3 at the B. Iden Payne Theater on the university campus.

On October 4 at 7 pm, AFTLS will perform the play at the Winedale Historical Center in Round Top.

The Oct. 1 performance will be followed by a Q and A session with the actors.

The five AFTLS actors, veterans of the classical theater with experience in such companies as the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre and other leading English theaters, will play all the roles in The Winter's Tale, using subtle gestures, body movements and voice modulation rather than elaborate costumes or sets. In 2006, AFTLS won the Austin Critics' Circle award for Best Touring Performance for their production of Hamlet.

Actors from the London Stage, now housed at the University of Notre Dame, is an educational and theatrical program that brings a troupe of five classically trained actors from major English theaters to college campuses for week-long residencies. During their week at the University of Texas, the actors teach up to 33 classes and workshops; offer two one-person shows; and perform minimalist productions of a full-length Shakespeare play -- three times at UT and once at Winedale. Begun in 1975 by Professor Homer Swander of the University of California, Santa Barbara and Patrick Stewart, the British actor, AFTLS's unique program of performance and education has had approximately 350 residences on 150 campuses, including UT Austin in 1979, 1983, and 1999 to present.

The London actors explore the relationship of page and stage, language and meaning: "rehearsing" students in scenes from Shakespeare and other playwrights, helping them to examine the many ways scenes can be understood and performed, leading them in analyzing and speaking verse, teaching them about metrical stresses and rhythm, cues, blocking, stage breathing, and the like. The actors work with English and drama majors; students in foreign languages, communications, speech, music, history, classics, psychology; as well as with high schoolers and members of the community. Their one-actor shows have been performed in residence halls and retirement communities, in auditoria and open areas, in coffee houses and student unions.


Actors from the London Stage at the University of Texas at Austin is sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts, the Department of English, and the University Co-operative Society. The full-length plays with five actors playing all the parts are minimalist in terms of props and staging, intimate and compelling. The performances emphasize language, characterization, and dramatic energy; the results are startlingly clear and powerful, even magical, for audiences of all ages in a way that large-scale productions in the big theaters of Stratford and London can never be.

The residencies not only add a unique dimension to UT's education mission, but also strengthen other programs that depend on UT's links with the English theatre, since many of the same people are involved with those as well. For example, the Shakespeare at Winedale Program now performs every August at theatres in Stratford and London, and one of the Austin AFTLS performances now takes place in Winedale's theatre barn. Shakespeare in Performance, the main course in the English Department's Oxford Summer Program, has worked with British actors and directors from the Royal Shakespeare Company, the National Theatre, and others since 1984, many of whom, like Patrick Stewart, are also involved with AFTLS.

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