Apprentice Actor Program


Learn. Risk. Grow. Pursue.

The Great River Shakespeare Festival is well known for its commitment to clearly-spoken, thoughtfully developed, classical work. We want our plays to resonate profoundly with a modern audience, but creating dynamic classics requires mastery of stylized text. GRSF is committed to giving our apprentices the skills that will make them stand out in the classical arena – skills that will unlock Shakespeare’s canon, open doors to future rehearsal rooms and inspire the creation of their own work.


The Apprentice Program is sponsored by:

Apprentice Program Alumni

Creating and educational, professional space to hone your craft

The GRSF apprenticeship program reminded me that Shakespeare’s work is best approached with a generous sense of play, and a willingness to be physically invested in the text at an athletic level.

Winona, MN is a community that helps support the process immensely, and the success of the apprenticeship process would be impossible without them!

Jonathan Contreras

Season 14 Apprentice, Season 15 Acting Intern

I came to the GRSF Acting Apprentice Program immediately after finishing my MFA. It was the perfect way to transition from school to working in professional theater. The environment created around apprentices is supportive, collaborative and challenging. It was an extremely rewarding summer and I recommend it to anyone interested in a career as a professional actor.

Stefanie Resnick

Season 13 Apprentice

[It was] one of the best experiences of my life. It allowed me to grow as a performer and a person alongside some amazing people who will be my friends the rest of my life. The neat thing about the program is that it lets you see all walks of life in the theater which, going through it, no one should take for granted. It is a cultivation of a professional world, but wholly unique in that it is also a cultivation of family. 

Luke Atchley

Season 14 Apprentice


Females, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply & audition. GRSF uses gender- and race-conscious casting.

To apply, please fill out the application below and find an audition in your area.

School-specific Auditions

School audition dates will be held virtually in the winter/spring of 2021. Check back for specific dates. Interested in setting up an audition with your school? Reach out to

General Auditions (via Zoom)

January 24

February 27

March 20

Those auditioning should prepare two contrasting Shakespeare monologues, at least one in verse, totaling no more that 5 minutes in combined length.

Any questions, please write to Bryan Hunt, Director of GRSF Apprentice Actor Training Program:


Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifications do I need to be an apprentice?

The program is geared towards rising and graduating seniors, MFA students in their first or second year, and young professionals seeking to sharpen their facility with Shakespeare.

Apprentices should possess a keen interest in classical theatre, regardless of their actual experience with Shakespeare. Collaboration is a fundamental component of GRSF – apprentices should be interested in developing as part of an ensemble and come to the program with clear goals for their artistic or professional development. We seek out intelligent students who work hard, play nice, and are willing to take big risks in the classroom, the rehearsal hall and onstage. We want students who are invested in their own growth, who are looking for a challenge.

What is the time committment?

Apprentices are expected to start on May 14th and participate in the season through strike on August 8th. Please bring up any conflicts in your application or interview, as we may be able to accommodate them if we know about them in advance.

How much does the Apprentice Program cost?

Tuition for the 13 week program is $2000, which includes housing and classroom instruction. Scholarships are available. Additionally, work in the shops and front of house are great ways to earn some cash through the summer. All apprentices are required to work in the shops for two weeks, compensated. Front of house opportunities are voluntary and also compensated.

Will I be on a run crew?

No! The primary reason you’re at GRSF is to act and develop your professional theater career. There are two short weeks in the middle of the summer (around tech week) where you’ll work in the shops, as well as observe the show you’re understudying. Other than that, you’ll be focused on acting.

What about COVID?

GRSF continues to monitor the evolving health crisis, and will adhere to any and all mandated local, state and federal guidelines. The health and safety of our company and audiences are our first priority. As an apprentice in 2021, expect a season like no other. It will most certainly ask patience, flexibility and a positive spirit of all of us to move forward. We are confident we can create a meaningful summer for apprentices, and are excited to meet you in the (virtual) audition room.