Actor Training Program
Berkshire Theatre Festival, now Berkshire Theatre Group (BTG) performing on five stages has a strong commitment to investing in the next generation of theatre artists. By presenting theatre that matters—world premieres, contemporary works, and classics—we are able to speak to who we are in our world today.
Our highly regarded Summer Performance Training Apprentice Program offers 15 students from all over the country a multifaceted approach to actor training that combines a strong emphasis on movement and vocal technique. The uniqueness of the program lies in our fundamental belief that theatre succeeds through ensemble work. As a result, students are vital members of the BTG community, performing on one of our many stages, taking classes each day, and assisting in a variety of departments including production and administration. Students should be prepared for a vigorous and all-encompassing approach to professional theatre.
Most significant is the program’s daily training which is the Suzuki Method of Actor Training. This acting method is a rigorous voice and movement program designed to create an intense physical condition in the actor’s body that gives him/her a greater sense of physical awareness, as well as a pathway into an emotional life that is honestly connected to the actor’s voice. Complementing the Suzuki classes are several master workshop classes taught by visiting theatre professionals from our Fitzpatrick Main Stage, Unicorn Theatre, or Colonial Theatre.
All that I have experienced this summer has met, exceeded and even stretched the boundaries of my expectations.
– Anya Whelan-Smith 2010 Apprentice
My apprenticeship at BTG was not only one of the most fun, memorable, and fulfilling summers of my life, but its lasting benefits serve me to this day, over 8 years later. The training was intense and the experience of working in a professional setting, very informative. I learned, more than anything else, the value of an ensemble and how the best results come from working intimately with a group of people for an extended time. The bond our group of apprentices formed and shared was profound, and I still carry on strong friendships with several of them. My relationship with the theatre remains strong as well. During that summer, they always treated my fellow apprentices and I like we were important and that our contributions were as valuable to the success of BTG as anyone else's, and since then they have maintained an interest in my career. I've had the proud fortune of returning to BTG several times, working both on the Unicorn Stage and Main Stage and earning my Equity card. As I continue to navigate my way through the incredibly tumultuous world of show business, BTG exists as a rock for me. I still know I can count on the contacts I've made there to offer invaluable guidance and support, and all of this is because I made the great decision to become an acting apprentice.
— Ben Rosenblatt, former BTG Apprentice.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is housing included?
Yes. Apprentices are housed in furnished off campus housing located in Stockbridge, MA close to the Fitzpatrick Main Stage and Unicorn Theatre. Everyone will have at least one roommate. Apprentices will be required to bring their own linens.
Are meals included in my tuition?
Yes. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided at The Lavan Center for the Performing Arts located a short distance from the housing.
What other fees are there that are not covered in my tuition?
Thre is a $100 refundable room and key deposit that is required for each participant prior to the start of the program.
Do I need a car?
We encourage you to bring a car if you are able to. Public transportation is available in the Berkshires but not readily accessible. Transportation to and from performances, class, and work calls will be the apprentice responsibilities.
What type of performance opportunities are there?
Apprentices are guaranteed a role in one of the season's productions. Some apprentices will have the opportunity to be in the Ellenoff Musical Monday Series and all apprentices will perform in the end of the program showcase.
What additional responsibilities do Apprentices have?
In addition to class work and performances, Apprentices assist with Front of House responsibilities for our stages including car parking, working concessions, giving pre-show curtain speeches, and working will call for our ticket office. Apprentices assist our Marketing and Development Offices with special events and community outreach and work changeovers and strikes for all of our stages.
Do Apprentices return to BTG?
Many Apprentices return to work at BTG and distinguish themselves as staff, work with the year-round education program, and onstage after their training season.
McKearnan Scholarship Fund
This fund was established by long time Trustee Betsey McKearnan. Funds are used for tuition assistance for the BTG Summer Performance Training Apprentice Program. Scholarships are awarded on a need-basis.
For more information, please contact:
Allison Rachele Bayles
Administrative Director of Education