the Pigeon Creek Shakespeare Company
During its 2009 season, Pigeon Creek instituted an
educational program which is unique not only in West
Michigan, but in the country.

In partnership with Wayland Union High School in
Wayland, Michigan, Pigeon Creek conducted a high
school residency in which the company’s professional
actors and teaching artists rehearsed and performed
alongside 5 high school actors, and one recent alumna
actor from Wayland Union.  The professional actors
conducted workshops in Wayland Union drama classes,
conducted an audition for high school actors, provided
intensive workshop training to the cast, and rehearsed
and performed Shakespeare’s
The Winter’s Tale with
the students playing major roles in the production.  In
2010, the company conducted another residency at
Rogers High School in Wyoming, Michigan, rehearsing
and performing
A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  In the
fall of 2012, Pigeon Creek will be in residence for 6
weeks at Kelloggsville High School in Grand Rapids,
Michigan for a production of
The Comedy of Errors.

This kind of residency explores the practice of
apprenticeship and mentoring which was the major form
of actor training during Shakespeare’s own lifetime.  
Actors began their training in their pre-teen years,
shadowing and performing with older, more
experienced actors.  Pigeon Creek’s high school
residency seeks to provide this same hands-on training
and education through experience to the
Shakespearean actors of the future.  The residency
program also offers benefits to students who do not
have previous acting experience.  Learning to analyze
Shakespearean language greatly increases students’
reading comprehension and language skills.  Live
performance improves students’ confidence and public
speaking skills.  The experience of rehearsing and
performing a play teaches students time management,
self-discipline, teamwork, and cooperation.
   
During the residency, student actors learn techniques
for speaking Shakespeare’s language, fundamental
acting skills, physical theatre styles, proper vocal
technique, and the work ethic required to be a
professional theatre artist.  Along with the 15-20
students who act in the residency play production,
Pigeon Creek’s project reaches a large portion of each
school’s student body with performances of the play, for
which English teachers offer extra credit.  Pigeon Creek’
s actors also visit all classes in which students study
Shakespeare, performing scenes and discussing
Shakespeare’s language and the history of
Shakespearean theatre.  A portion of the ticket revenue
from the performances of the residency play directly
benefits the participating school’s theatre program.
High School Residency
Students Aaron Schuitema, Matt Henke and
Cassandra Snyder in
A Winter's Tale.
(photo by Tim Motley)
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The 2010 High School
Residency was made
possible by a grant
from Target Stores.  
For the 2012 year, this
grant well also be
supporting our High
School Matinees of
Romeo and Juliet.
Professional Actors and Students work
side by side in our 2009 Residency at
Wayland Union High School.
Michigan's only year-round, touring Shakespeare company
copyright 2012.