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Aspiring Actors Get Free Shakespeare Crash Course in Riverside Park

By Claire Oliver | July 17, 2013 1:14pm
 Hudson Warehouse is hosting a free acting class this weekend to introduce actors of all ages and experience levels to the classics.
Hudson Warehouse
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UPPER WEST SIDE — New Yorkers with a yen to release their inner Hamlet or Juliet will get their chance this weekend — on a very public stage in Riverside Park.

Theater company Hudson Warehouse is hosting a Shakespeare Workout in the park July 20 at 3 p.m., inviting aspiring actors to take a two-hour crash course in performing the Elizabethan classics.

The free workshop at the park's Soldiers and Sailors Monument at 89th Street will teach students ages 13 and up how to do stage combat and project their voice. Instructors will use Shakespeare's plays as source material, helping students act out well-known scenes like the fight between Benvolio, Tybalt and Mercutio in "Romeo and Juliet."

“I believe that theater is essential to daily life, to society,” said Nicholas Martin-Smith, Hudson Warehouse's producing artistic director. "And people shouldn’t have to pay [exorbitant] prices to experience it.”

Martin-Smith, 51, an Upper West Side resident, comes from a family of theater lovers — his grandfather’s cousin helped found Dublin’s Abby Theatre. Before Martin-Smith launched Warehouse in 2004, he performed in off-Broadway shows.

Hudson Warehouse has hosted outdoor performances in Riverside Park for nearly a decade, but this is its first year offering the acting workouts.

The sessions are taught by the Warehouse’s own artists-in-residence, veterans of the group's productions, and many have a background in education. The July 20 and Aug. 24 sessions, which follow an initial class in June, will be taught by different instructors, so that participants can come back and learn more styles of acting, Martin-Smith said.

To sign up for one of Hudson Warehouse’s Shakespeare Workouts, email hudsonwarehouse@yahoo.com. The class is free, but a $10 donation is suggested.