Shakespeare to Contemporary: Classes, Workshops, Private Coaching and School-year Residencies

“Madeline’s expertise and passion for Shakespeare and theatre are matched by the talent of her teaching. She worked beautifully with both our middle and high school groups, customizing workshops to enrich their Language Arts curriculum and inspiring our entire group from novices to seasoned thespians. Their retention and positive attitudes are a direct result of this dynamic, multi-sensory, active learning experience.”

— Jeni Kocher Zerphy, Certified Teacher

“When the parents and students signed up for drama club, they had no idea of the wealth of experience that Mrs. Austin brought to Benfield. Many of the students have discovered new confidence thanks to their participation.”

— Robin Enders, teacher, Benfield Elementary School

“Madeline has a very dynamic style of coaching which is appealing to young actors. We truly appreciate that she includes the importance of professionalism and confidence building strategies in her coaching. Madeline teaches solid acting technique, but also provides skills that would be helpful in the pursuit of any career.”

— Lauren Tharp, Home Scholars’ Academy of Maryland

Learn to command an audience with confidence whether on a stage or in an interview. Through improvisation and performing Shakespeare’s words, students gain essential life tools such as improved articulation, vocabulary, reading comprehension, and interpersonal relationship skills that can be applied to college and job interviews, auditioning and other public forums. Workshops, seminars, residencies, and private coaching sessions are designed around the acting levels of the participants or for a specific Shakespeare play.

Audition Mastery

“…a virtuosic demonstration of how to engage a college class. You were funny, warm, and obviously an expert with extensive real-world experiences.”

— Daniel Burdick, AMusD, Edinboro University, PA

Classes offer training for professional actors or students of acting in Individual and/or Group settings, and Advanced Career Seminars on the business of theater and producing. Classes take the fear out of auditioning and public speaking, and create a personal confidence and technique.

Topics include:

  • Monologue selection and perfection
  • Cold reading technique
  • Commercial copy audition technique
  • Headshot and resume critique
  • Business and networking strategy

Half- and Full-Day Seminars can also focus on the business of theatre for up-and-coming playwrights, directors and producers.

Topics include:

  • Bringing any size show from page to stage
  • Who’s Who and What’s What: The Basics of Broadway
  • Power players in New York and West End theatre

Carla Johnston“Madeline not only coached me, but got me the audition. I booked it and got my SAG card. She is an incredible teacher.”

–Carla Johnston

Adam-Cantor“I wouldn’t be a working actor if it wasn’t for Madeline.” THE PURGE: Election Year, THE KILL POINT and BOUNCERS

— Adam Cantor

Mark Doherty“I had the pleasure of working with Madeline on both monologues and scene study. Her patience and understanding are only topped by her incredible command of ‘the craft.’ She gets my top recommendation as an acting coach!”

— Mark Doherty

Shari Hellman“Due to Madeline’s fantastic coaching I became a member of The Flea Theater’s repertory company, The Bats. Each year over a thousand actors audition. I would never have been able to have this wonderful experience if not for Madeline’s unique and brilliant coaching.”

— Shari Hellman

Acting Shakespeare

a midsummers night dream poster Curriculum is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of Shakespeare’s language, how to navigate a stage and write a sonnet, and a short history of Shakespeare and his time. The curriculum is performance-based, therefore allowing students to more easily develop a core understanding of Shakespeare, and to utilize skills that can then be transferred to a variety of audiences in multiple formats. Day sessions or week-long workshops can also be designed around a specific play.

The School Year 2015-16 residency at Benfield Elementary School culminated in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

A Midsummer Night's Dream Cast members (2)

“Madeline was not only amazing with the students but extremely well organized and professional. To say that she elevated the caliber of student performance would be a gross understatement. Those who participated would agree that the entire process, culminating in the final performances, far exceeded our wildest expectations.”

— Jennifer Yeats, Parent, Benfield Elementary

“After 6 months, my daughter still speaks about her wonderful experience with drama club. Performing in a Shakespeare play was one of the highlights of my daughter’s school year, providing her with more confidence and a new found love of Shakespeare. Director/Teacher Madeline Austin was able to make Shakespeare’s language understandable, relevant and exciting.”

— Gayle Verreault, Parent, Benfield Elementary

“Participating in Drama Club with Madeline Austin was the highlight of Anna’s year. Anna has always been a bit shy and quiet, and there is no question that Drama Club pulled Anna out of her shell and improved her public speaking abilities.”

— Julie Hunsicker, Parent, Benfield Elementary

Broadway To Benfield, NY Producer Brings Shakespeare to Severna Park
This April, Benfield Elementary School will be transformed into Fairyland as Madeline Austin and her thespians bring “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” to an off-Benfield stage. Austin, former Executive Director of The Shakespeare Society has been preparing her 32 young actors for almost the entire school year. The production also employs four high school interns who serve as stage manager, music director, choral director and set designer. The actors will not wear mics; rather, they have all been trained to project their voices outward. Robin Enders, fifth-grade educator at Benfield, was complimentary of Austin’s impact. “When the parents and students signed up for drama club, they had no idea the wealth of experience that Mrs. Austin brought to Benfield,” Enders said. “Many of the students have discovered new confidence thanks to their participation.” Austin said the young actors have been euphoric during rehearsal, in part due to the physicality of the comedy portrayed. “I am confident that everyone who sees this production will be simply blown away with the level of professionalism these kids bring to the stage and their amazing ability to communicate Shakespeare’s words” said Austin.

–SEVERNA PARK VOICE, April 5, 2016

The Basics of Acting
THT 311 (Winter 2019-Wed 2/27/19-4/3/19), Anne Arundel Community College

Through character work, scene study, cold readings, warmups, improvisation, and monologues, we will explore all the basic elements that make for great acting: Stimulus/Response; Concentration; Sense Memory; Motivation/Intent; Decisions/Transitions; and Positive Choices & Discovery. This course is designed for the novice or professional actor looking for a solid acting technique. For more information or to register, go to www.aacc.edu/register/.

Shakespeare Sessions

A Shakespeare troupe for Teens. Weekly, fun-filled sessions revolving around the magic, power and relevancy of Shakespeare. Utilizing stage craft, “mini” Shakespeare lessons, students will have the opportunity to work on sonnets, monologues and Shakespeare scenes from Hamlet, The Tempest, Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Students can choose to work on solo pieces or on scenes.  The program is geared toward middle and high school students.