Bethel Students Learn from Stratford Festival Actors

Lissa Diaz

Two actors and one director from the internationally acclaimed Stratford Festival will present a four-day residency at Bethel College, Nov. 15-18. Bethel is the first private college to do a residency with this prestigious group, who has previously conducted workshops at Michigan State University, University of Missouri and Wayne State University.

Located in Ontario, Canada, the Stratford Festival is the largest classical repertory theatre in North America. The festival has featured some of the greatest Canadian, British and American actors and is especially known for its productions of the plays of Shakespeare.

The Stratford residency at Bethel will include a series of evening workshops, including one on Shakespearean text, one on stage combat and one on the method and practice of teaching the works of Shakespeare. Bethel students from the departments of education, communication, English and theatre will participate, along with local high school teachers.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for our students and for the local teachers who are able to attend,” says Bethel College Department of Theatre Chair Don Hunter. “They will get exposure to ideas and instruction that are normally only available in a master’s level program.”

Bethel’s connection with Stratford started in 2013, when a generous donor began sponsoring an annual trip to the festival. Any Bethel student who has participated in one of the theatre department’s productions can apply for the trip, and the only cost to students is their food and passport. In 2016, 13 students from 10 different majors traveled to the festival for a week of amazing performances, back stage tours and workshops. The goal of the trip is to inspire future theatre professionals and patrons.

For more information on the Bethel College Department of Theatre, visit