Gund ’04 Attends Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Susannah Gund ’04 has been a director, an actor, a stage manager and a costume maven. Pursuing her love for theater outside Phillips Academy, Gund develop ed her knowledge of the craft over the summer. Well-known in the PA theatre community, she landed a lead role in a Theatre 520 production during her first term. However, rarely do artists in the PA community have an opportunity to explore classic plays in depth during the school year. Thus, Gund found a program that catered to her desires. Gund attended the nationally renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon, where she worked daily with actors of all levels to learn the logistics of running a company and developing the art of performance. The two-week long seminar held by OSF includes workshops led by theatre professionals. It alsofeatures instruction in various aspects of the running a theater. Students passionate about theater such as Gund attended nine professional performances from the company’s repertorire, presented by the actors who also led the students’ classes. Gund recalls the overall experience as being “absolutely amazing and innovative.” The OSF Seminars are geared towards motivated individuals who are serious about their art and are willing to work under a demanding schedule. Gund spoke on her experience shadowing various members of the company at the Shakespeare Festival. “Watching professional actors is a wonderful way to learn,” she said. “As an audience member, I could see the way they changed from performance to performance, while, as an apprentice, I learned the reason behind these artistic choices.” However, Gund did not focus solely on the performance aspect of theatre. She also learned about areas such as theatre administration, fund-raising, costume, scenic design, sound and lighting and text analysis. “The instruction was incredible,” Gund said. “Their wealth of knowledge never ceased to amaze me and their attitude towards their art were incredible refreshing.” Yet, Gund’s learning experience in Ashland did not occur on stage only. Gund said, “I learned so much from the other students as well…long discussions about our pasts and futures in theatre let me know where I was in respect to other aspiring theatre moguls.” Gund encourages all students interested in theatre to apply to the OSF program. If you are a high school junior, explore the program by visiting the website at and download an application. Gund promises the experience is one that will never be forgotten.“I have so much respect for that program,” she said.“ The experience I had there revived in me a passion for the performing arts like nothing else could have done,” she added.