Rodrigo Beilfuss is a Brazilian-born Canadian actor-director with a German last name, who trained in England and now calls Winnipeg, Manitoba his home. He is the artistic director of Shakespeare in the Ruins.
Growing up in Brazil, Beilfuss envisioned a career as a diplomat. He was well on his way after being accepted to law school, but he faced a fork in the road when he was also accepted to a cultural exchange program in Winnipeg. He chose Winnipeg thinking he’d return to Brazil, and a career in the foreign service after the cultural exchange was completed.
As part of his cultural exchange program, Beilfuss was introduced to the works of Shakespeare; he fell in love with the Bard’s words and soon traded his pursuit of a diplomatic career for a one in theatre.
Beilfuss admits that when he was first introduced to Shakespeare, he didn’t understand much of the language. However, his realization that he was not alone in his struggle to comprehend Shakespeare’s work ultimately gave him the confidence to work through it. “Ironically, Shakespeare gave me a sense of belonging – everyone was confused; everyone was terrified,” says Beilfuss.
From Winnipeg Beilfuss traveled to Stratford, Ontario and England where he studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. His master’s thesis research at LAMDA examined the process, and cultural impact, of performing Shakespeare in different languages – a natural topic for Beilfuss, whose first language was not English.
Beilfuss’ was also accepted to Stratford Festival’s prestigious Birmingham Conservatory for Classical Theatre training program and the Michael Langham Workshop for Classical Direction.
Beilfuss went on to perform at the Stratford Festival for three seasons and was assistant director to Graham Abbey in a fourth.
In this episode of The Performer Podcast our conversation begins with the story about a production of “Macbeth” at the Stratford Festival the day that three actors, including the lead, were unable to perform due to illness. The play went on with the actors and understudies scrambling behind the scenes, some covering two roles.
In “Macbeth,” Belfuss played Young Siward whom Macbeth kills in the final battle, shortly before his swordfight with Lord Macduff. The production was filmed and will be available for free, for three weeks beginning May 7th, as part of the Festival’s Shakespeare Film Festival
Hamlet at the Rose Theatre Brampton with Pakistani-Canadian star Ahad Raza, directed by Haysam Kadri a graduate of the Birmingham Conservatory at the Stratford Festival.
Shakespeare In The Ruins website
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FOUR EPISODES WITH OTHER ACTORS FROM THE STRATFORD FESTIVAL
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