San Jose Youth Shakespeare changed my life from the moment my parents founded the company in 2003. I played at least one role and sometimes assistant directed for every production until 2009, when I moved to England to train at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). This little company which was simply a part of my everyday life opened more doors than I or my parents ever could have planned. I was fortunate in playing leading roles in Shakespeare productions at LAMDA, and since graduating have performed in several London productions, including the Team Welcome Ceremonies for the London 2012 Olympics. I'm still very much involved in the company, having directed our very own adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol in 2011, and a reprisal of the same show for the 2012 Christmas season. I re-joined the company as actor playing Antonio in the special presentation of The Merchant of Venice in 2013. My current endeavor is to create as many opportunities for San Jose Youth Shakespeare as it has done for me, by enhancing our already growing relationship with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Watch this space!
Sarah Devlin started acting with San Jose Youth Shakespeare at the age of fifteen, and while playing Lady Macbeth she discovered the powerful beauty of the literature with which she was working. Now, as an English and Theatre Major at California Polytechnic State University, she frequently draws from her experiences of acting, stage and house managing, and serving on the Board of Directors with Youth Shakespeare as she works towards graduation. Having hands-on experience with putting on performances and navigating Shakespeare's writing is a vital aid in her academic work. It was her work with Youth Shakespeare that led her to pursue the academic path she is now treading, and so, not surprisingly, she returns to work backstage as often as possible.
Being a part of Youth Shakespeare was amazing. I got to meet and work with so many great people, form beautiful friendships, and act on the stage performing some of the best plays ever written. Mr. Rumsby is an amazing director and works so well with all of the young actors that make up this superb company. He knows just how far to push someone without making them uncomfortable, yet still have them grow as an actor. I know I have grown as an actor and a person because of my time with Youth Shakespeare.
Nathan is 22-years-old and is currently working on a degree in video production. His favorite roles from past plays are Caesar from Julius Caesar and Snug the Joiner (a.k.a. the lion) from A Midsummer Night's Dream. He returned for a special role in 2013 as Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. Besides theatre and film, Nathan enjoys making fun of movies, in the theatre, loudly, and spending time with his friends. He is also in the process of making his debut rap album. Nathan is hoping to be able to pursue both his interests, rap and video editing, as viable careers. His work with Youth Shakespeare, on and off the stage, has helped him further his goals.
As of this writing, I am a junior animator at Spark Unlimited, a southern California-based video game company. Watch for updates! The acting experience at San Jose Youth Shakespeare has proven invaluable for my animation work. My knowledge of timing and staging – two principles which are all important in animation – has increased exponentially by working under Mr. Rumsby's excellent direction with Shakespeare's timeless plays. Animation is essentially acting and I draw on the acting skills which I acquired with San Jose Youth Shakespeare every day. My experience with Youth Shakespeare will live with me always.
Anna (Dunlap) O'Reilly
I am very thankful for my experience with San Jose Youth Shakespeare. I learned so much, and not just about acting: Bob Rumsby taught us to be disciplined and dedicated, and to work together. I learned to read Shakespeare with a depth that I could never have arrived at on my own, and I developed a taste and appreciation for live theatre which I did not have before taking to the stage myself. I will never forget the time I spent with San Jose Youth Shakespeare.