Actress Vanessa Redgrave to Give Master Class to Theatre Students

Thursday, April 23, 1998 (All day)
Oscar-winning actress Vanessa Redgrave will teach a master class for theater students in the Rooke Theatre on April 29. One of the most critically acclaimed leading ladies of her generation, Redgrave has appeared in seventy films including performances as Guinevere in Camelot and dance pioneer Isadora Duncan in Isadora . She won an Academy Award for Julia in 1977, and her latest film, Mrs. Dalloway, is in theaters now.

Accompanying Redgrave to campus will be her mother, Lady Rachel Kempson Redgrave, who has appeared in over twenty films. Theatre arts professor Vanessa James characterized the two as "members of one of the most influential acting families of this century."

The Redgraves' appearance will not be a public performance, but an intimate "master class" conducted on stage before a limited audience. Eight students will be chosen to participate; each will come prepared with an excerpt from Anton Chekhov's work. For about ninety minutes, the Redgraves will offer individual attention to each aspiring actor.

Master classes are a well-known pedagogical tool in the field and are held at such distinguished theatrical institutions as England's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Only actors and actresses at the top of their field, such as the Redgraves, teach such classes. Students at liberal arts colleges rarely have the opportunity for such an experience. Organized by the theatre arts department and the Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts, MHC students will be joined by Five College peers for the event.

The mother-daughter pair will be in Western Massachusetts through May 3 to perform in the sold-out world premiere of Chekhov's Sarah Bernhardt Comes to Town. The piece is part of the fifth annual Massachusetts International Festival of the Arts, which is based in Northampton. Coincidentally, three one-act Chekhov comedies are being performed at the Rooke Theatre this month, and a related practicum on Chekhov and vaudeville was given by the Russian department this semester.

Because Rooke Theater seats only 190, the class will be broadcast simultaneously onto video screens in the Rooke Theatre lobby and (weather permitting) on the theatre building's patio. Reservations are required. For ticket availability, call x2118.