My Approach

A seasoned actor, director, and teacher, I coach actors, teach theatre and enrichment classes, and direct productions both professionally and in the schools. I partner with teachers to develop Shakespeare-centered theatre workshops for the classroom as well as the rehearsal hall. I offer an eclectic range of physical, vocal, and rehearsal techniques designed to assist actors in finding their personal connections to the text.


Shakespeare & me

These are theatre-based enrichment programs specifically designed to enlarge students - and teachers’ notion of what Shakespeare can on stage, and in the classroom - no prior experience in Shakespeare studies necessary! The workshops have been adapted for theatre as well as English classes, even social studies classes, and can be applied to dramatic works apart from those written by Shakespeare. These programs range from 40-100 minute in-school workshops, which can be scheduled as a single visit or a sequence of several sessions to explore more fully a play or plays. Extended residencies of several weeks can be developed to conclude with a workshop performance. I can work with your school to develop a full production -for example, I could develop a 10 week residency to do an edited version of “Hamlet” for your fall play. Finally, I provide coaching sessions for theatre classes or rehearsals.

NB: Shakespeare & Me programs are underwritten by UCSB Humanities and are therefore offered without charge to Santa Barbara County Public schools. The workshops, coaching, residencies, and master classes are available outside of Santa Barbara County for a fee. Please contact me to discuss scheduling and financial arrangements.

From an 11th grade English teacher: Heather Stanford has created a unique outreach program to introduce local high school students to learn Shakespeare. Combining stage performance, acting workshops and an interactive learning environment, students experience Shakespeare's works as they were meant to be.

In-class workshops

In-class workshops for grades 3 - 12.  All workshops complement your curriculum by providing a general introduction to Shakespeare's theatre and/or a specific focus on plays on your syllabus.  In younger grades, this can consist of a general introduction to theatre with an emphasis on one or two Shakespeare plays. This can be a friendly way of introducing Shakespeare, and theatre more generally, through fun activities that invite students to explore their own personal connections to Shakespeare's language and stories.

Options include single visits or extended residencies up to 10 weeks.  We can prepare 30-90 minute custom scripts for your class' needs, edited to suit grade level and class size.  

This is a highly inclusive program aimed at affirming students' range of comfort with the subject matter.  There is a role for everyone, not just those with strong reading skills.

student Testimonials 

I felt like it calmed my soul, and kept me at ease, kind of like weight off my shoulders.  I wonder what it would have been like if we had spent more time together.  Hopefully during the journey in my life I will get another chance to participate in a class like this.
I learned something from you and that was don’t be afraid to express yourself or emotion to be who you are.  And also to speak out loud.  I was proud of myself because I was able to be open and say what I felt. {By speaking} I learned how to understand how I, myself, am feeling. The only thing I am curious about is how you were able to teach us all of “Hamlet” in only three days
{it} was just ludicrous for a person like me to learn Hamlet in just 3 days… but all that negativity was washed down the drain …I automatically knew this was going to be a fun and interesting couple of days. 

Those warmups… were so outrageously fun they broke you out of your shell…you forgot about all your problems and other things happening in the outside world.  When you were there in the music room you were there 100%. 

It was almost therapeutic and helped relieve a lot of stress. It made me wonder if the …exercises we used for learning Hamlet could be used in different forms of therapy and to relieve anxiety and stress.
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
-King Lear
Stand and unfold yourself!
- Hamlet
People that usually segregate themselves from whatever…were cooperating with each other with what seemed to be 100 percent...I soon realized I was getting relaxed and enjoying myself.