So it's no surprise that one of my first professional full-time acting gigs was in the Shakespeare Troupe for the PA Renaissance Faire. I was also hired to be a singer in the Madrigal group and the Bawdy Balladeers.
Coming from the desert of California to lush world of Penn's Woods was quite a shock, but it was a delicious way to dive into my craft! We rehearsed 6 days a week, learning not only Shakespeare, but improv (Shakespearean Improv!), history, customs and manners. For example, a lady never walked to the left of her escort, because "a lady on the left was no lady at all." It was also because the gentleman had a sword on his left hip, and thus needed to draw it without fear of wounding his lady-friend.
I performed at the Faire for 4 years, enjoying the hard work of being "on" for 8 hourse a day, three-four days a week, running from show to show. We'd do half-hour segments of Shakespeare, as well as shows on court life, or a peasant's life. I played the town rogue, the court slut (historically Penelope Devereaux - above - had poems written about her, so she was classy and passionate), a grave-digger who could summon fairies, MacB's Third Witch, The Wall in Pyraums and Thisbe, and a Spanish innkeeper.
It was A BLAST! And I still use improv in so much of my work today! It's great for character-work onstage, and I've been asked to improvise on nearly every film I've worked on.
Plus I made some amazing life-long friends, and I met my husband there. Such joys and treasures!
"All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players." - William Shakespeare