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-blind casting.

In-Person Auditions

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

ACTF Region 3 – January 7-12
Columbia University – January 28
University of Minnesota, Guthrie – January 24
University of Nevada – Las Vegas – February 23
Stella Adler NYC – February 29
University of Evansville – TBD
Webster University – TBD
University of Oklahoma – TBD
St. Olaf College – TBD
University of Tennessee – Knoxville – TBD

Video Auditions (via Skype) can also be scheduled

January 18
February 22
March 14
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 $1750, which includes housing. Scholarships are available.

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.