Summer Shakespeare Intensive

Summer Shakespeare Intensive

Viroqua, Wisconsin – June 9-30, 2024

In this education-focused production experience, emerging artists will both learn from and perform alongside classically trained, professional guest artists. Participants will explore topics such as text analysis, stage combat, movement, and vocal technique within a workshop setting led by the guest artists and then have the chance to immediately apply those skills within rehearsal and performances. This format offers a unique opportunity for actors to grow artistically in a professional environment while developing lasting relationships.

Program participants will engage with an experimental and emerging initiative in American higher education, in the context of a vibrant rural culture in southwestern Wisconsin, while contributing to the development of the Viroqua Shakespeare Festival in its 3rd year. In addition to the course of study, the summer months in Viroqua, Wisconsin are packed with live music, farmers markets, craft fairs, and abundant opportunities for hiking, camping, swimming, and more.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until May 15th, 2024 or until the program is filled.
Standard Oil Octopus

2023 Viroqua Shakespeare Festival


Summer Shakespeare Intensive

The course will integrate offerings from guest instructors alongside core work of the Thoreau faculty, fellows, and our scholar-in-residence, together embracing an embodied rhythm of physical activity through rehearsal, set building, acting study, voice and movement exercises, and more.

Course will proceed as follows:

Movement, voice, and stage combat workshops

Scene and Shakespeare text analysis classes

Basic carpentry, set construction and stagecraft in preparation for the production of Henry the Fifth.

Costume design and building

General mindfulness practice, theater games, and community-building activities

Participants will synthesize the fruits of their studies during  rehearsals for Henry the Fifth and Romeo and Juliet, which will be presented during the final weekend of June at the 3rd Annual Viroqua Shakespeare Festival. 

Course Components:
  • Basic carpentry, stagecraft, Peter Daniels
  • Stage voice and movement, Eleanore Tisch and Tori DeLaney
  • Scene and Text Analysis, Liam McGilligan and James Reilly
  • Theater tech, Gavin Struempler
  • Costume design and construction
  • Henry V Rehearsal and Performance
    • Peter Daniels, Director
    • Liam McGilligan, Asst. Director and performing the role of King Henry the Fifth
    • Eleanore Tisch, Voice and movement coach
  • Romeo and Juliet Rehearsal and Performance
    • Greta Zandstra, Director
    • James Reilly
    • Tori DeLaney
    • Gavin Struempler
Winter Cooking
Winter Campfire
Blackhawk Rock Winter Sunrise

Instructor: Peter Daniels

Facilitator Peter ‘pita’ Daniels brings a holistic commitment to creating healthy learning environments, influenced by his time in the scene shop at Montana State University teaching and learning stagecraft, as master carpenter for Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, and technical director for the Milwaukee Players.  Currently, Daniels lives in Viroqua in service as Manager of the Landmark Center Theater, in a 100-year-old converted public school near the Thoreau Campus.

Philippe Mesly

Instructor: Liam McGilligan

Liam McGilligan is an actor, artist, scholar, and citizen from Madison, WI who first came to Viroqua as a student in the Thoreau College 2021-22 Metamorphosis Year Program. He holds a B.F.A. in Acting from the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater Actor Training Program, graduating in 2020. He is passionate about the arts and storytelling as a vehicle for developing greater self-knowledge and cultivating authentic community and relationships in these uncertain times!

Liam McGilligan

Thoreau Faculty

The Thoreau faculty, fellows, and scholar-in-residence are a dynamic intergenerational team that weather all seasons and all programs at Thoreau College.

This team will support the Shakespeare intensive by preparing healthy meals for the benefit and enjoyment of all, serving as hosts for guest faculty and students, participating in select courses, working backstage or otherwise, and more.

They will also continue to manage Thoreau facilities, gardens, and animal flocks, while undertaking curriculum and program planning for the Thoreau Fall Gap Semester Program.

Program Details

Optional Community Readings (interested performers are highly encouraged to attend!):

(Location: Landmark Center Theater, 500 East Jefferson Street, Viroqua, WI OR weather permitting, we will gather at the Thoreau amphitheater, 224 E Hwy 56, Viroqua, WI)

Sunday, April 28th, 1pm-5pm – Henry the Fifth

Sunday, May 5th, 1pm-5pm – Romeo and Juliet

Saturday, May 11th, 2pm-6pm – King Lear


We are seeking up to 18 participants in this program, which will begin on Sunday, June 9th with a community meal and introductions, and culminate with performances in Viroqua on the weekend of June 28th, 29th, and 30th.

Introductory Meeting: Sunday, June 9th, 3pm-5pm

Rehearals: Monday-Friday, 10am-8pm (running from June 10th to June 28th)

–Morning rehearsal block – 10am-12pm

–Afternoon rehearsal block – 1pm-4pm

–Evening rehearsal block – 5pm-8pm

Participants will not be called for all rehearsal blocks until the final week (please see registration form for scheduling and conflict guidelines)


As long as you can commit to the stated rehearsal and performance hours, no applicant will be turned away!

Step 1: Registration Form

Completing this form will tell us about your interest in our program, either as a performer, technician, or both.

If you have any questions or would like a Word/PDF version of this application, contact us at

Step 2: Further Coordination

Upon receipt of registration form, Thoreau College will initiate further coordination, and connect participants with the production directors and instructors via email communication.

The priority application deadline for this program is May 15th, 2024. If the program is not filled at this point, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the program is filled.


Housing for non-local participants is available at the Thoreau College Campus, which includes both private and shared rooms.  The Campus is located on a semi-rural 6 acre site within walking distance of most locations in Viroqua, Wisconsin.  Lunches will be provided and eaten together on Mondays-Fridays during the course.  Participants will be responsible for other meals, for which they will have access to full kitchen facilities.


Thoreau College is committed to making our programs financially accessible to as many qualified applicants as possible. We value your presence and contributions to our community and do not want any economic circumstances to be a barrier to attendance! Any family needing to take a scholarship to reduce tuition may do so. No explanation is required. We strongly encourage each family that can do so to make a tax-deductible contribution of whatever you can afford to Thoreau College. Your financial pledge will cover program fees, supplies, and 15 weekday lunches during the course.  

Housing is available for an additional $400

As a guide for thinking about what a reasonable contribution might be for you, please consider this three-tiered sliding scale:

Supporter Tier:  $500
If you move through the world with financial ease and the means to fulfill many of your wants as well as your needs – you are able to eat out when you want, abundantly meet your needs through employment or can comfortably not work, have access to family wealth, own property, etc. – consider paying at this level, which will help us ensure the long term sustainability of our programs while keeping our offerings accessible to those with access to fewer resources.

Sustainer Tier: $350
If you are able to meet your needs with relative ease while budgeting your educational and entertainment spending – for instance, you are able to take classes and eat out occasionally as long as you are mindful – consider paying at this level, which will help sustain the work of the college at a modest level.

Supported Tier: $200
If you struggle to fund your basic needs and have limited access to resources in your family and community, or if you would not be able to access this program without a discounted payment option, consider paying at this level. We value your presence and contributions to our community and do not want any economic circumstances to be a barrier to attendance!

Thoreau College is an equal opportunity employer and complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination. Thoreau College is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.

“No method nor discipline can supersede the necessity of being forever on the alert. What is a course of history, or philosophy, or poetry, no matter how well selected, or the best society, or the most admirable routine of life, compared with the discipline of looking always at what is to be seen? Will you be a reader, a student merely, or a seer? Read your fate, see what is before you, and walk on into futurity.”