Actors From The London Stage has been a leading force in examining the transformative power of William Shakespeare, on the page and on the stage, for almost five decades.
[Pictured, clockwise from top: Sir Patrick Stewart, Michael Thomas, Vivien Heilbron, John Burgess, David Rintoul, Philip Voss.]
Actors From The London Stage (AFTLS) was founded in 1975 at the University of California Santa Barbara, by Professor Homer “Murph” Swander and the renowned stage & screen actor Sir Patrick Stewart, best known as Captain Picard on TV’s Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Professor Xavier in the X-Men film franchise.
The AFTLS company ethos and mission is simplicity at its finest. Five actors take the stage, with minimal props and costumes, and direct themselves in a performance of a complete Shakespeare play, with each actor portraying multiple roles.
But the performance is only part of the experience. The company tours to colleges & universities across the United States twice yearly, with each tour organized and administered by Shakespeare at Notre Dame. Each company of five actors leads classes and workshops throughout the residency week.
The goal: to interpret Shakespeare’s text as a blueprint for performance, lifting the words off the page as Shakespeare originally intended.
"Actors have a personal connection with dramatic texts, which is distinctive and different from the scholars. Our program gives the actor a unique platform from which to explore with professors and students what he or she does and why it is done."
-- Sir Patrick Stewart, Founding Director
Every Actors From The London Stage residency is customized to enhance your existing curriculum.
There's no pre-set structure. The AFTLS company is ready to meet the needs of your classroom -- whatever classroom it might be.
Theatre, English, and history are just a small sample of the classes AFTLS has led -- bringing their unique skill set into classes as varied as finance, architecture, chemistry, and many others.
Each Actors From The London Stage residency treats Shakespeare's text as a blueprint for performance.
That means there's no sitting around. You and your students will be on your feet and actively engaging in the experience.
AFTLS members are often already experienced teaching artists, and have illuminated classes covering a wide range of subject areas, from acting, speech, and text analysis to public speaking, presentation skills, debate, and much more.
Actors From The London Stage has traveled extensively across the United States, visiting dozens of colleges & universities yearly since 1975.
With stops in 38 states (including AFTLS company members' favorite, Hawaii) over almost five decades, the AFTLS company ethos has been honed by years of experience and practical savvy.
And even in a world filled with health & safety restrictions, AFTLS has adapted accordingly; our first all-virtual residency premiered in February 2021, with more to come in future seasons.