Actors take a British accent

The British are coming! The British are coming!

Theater studies students have been bombarded this semester with workshops and study abroad opportunities from the England. The British Invasion of Yale’s theater scene has included visits from BADA, the British American Drama Academy, and the Cambridge American Stage Tour of “As You LIke It.”

This Friday, Rodney Cottier, head of acting and head of the drama school division at LAMDA, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, will offer students a workshop introduction to Shakespeare’s First Folio and to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.

Craig Cofelt, LAMDA’s organizer for the workshop and the school’s participation in the International Opportunities Fair, said he is hoping to expand study abroad opportunities for theater students at Yale.

“Friday’s workshop will give prospective students the chance to experience firsthand the sort of class they would take in conservatory training at LAMDA,” Cofelt said.

A yearlong conservatory training program for students has just opened up to semester study abroad for U.S. undergraduates, in part by the advice of James Bundy, the dean of the Yale School of Drama.

“As an alumnus of LAMDA, I was pleased to offer general advice to Peter James and Colin Cook as to how they could best serve American undergraduates who were looking for semester and year abroad courses, by making connections to strong undergraduate theatre programs that would offer their students one or two semesters’ credit for work done abroad,” Bundy said.

Karyn Jones, associate director of International Education & Fellowship Programs, said that the University has worked out an agreement where students who are nominated by the theater studies department do not have to audition for a place at LAMDA.

This year, the first student from Yale to study at LAMDA is Miranda Jones ’06. Her intense conservatory experience consists of classes from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. where she practices everything from acting to voice to stage combat.

“I really couldn’t be happier with the program, and though I’ll admit that it is difficult sometimes to be so focused on one thing and to be in one environment with the same 12 people every day, I am learning a lot about theater, the differences between American and English approaches to acting, and obviously, and yet importantly, about myself, ” Jones said.

Toni Dorfman, the director of undergraduate studies for theater studies, emphasized the positive experiences of students going abroad.

“One thing I do believe, with all my heart, is that the more tools an artist has, the better. The more teachers, the better. You never know what challenge is down the road that will suddenly make pertinent and necessary that strange mime class with the Dutch expert that ruined your knees and taught you how to impersonate a croissant,” said Dorfman.

Whether Cottier has plans to teach Yalies how to impersonate a croissant is yet to be determined.

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