Performing Prose

performance technique for the writer


Emily Shain

Emily Shain is an actor, producer and educator based in Brooklyn. As an actor, Emily has performed on stages across the US. She holds a BFA from the University of Minnesota/ Guthrie Theater Actors Training Program and a MFA from the UCSD/ La Jolla Playhouse Acting Program. While at UCSD, Emily taught Public Speaking and Intro to Acting, for which she earned the University's Distinguished Teaching Award in 2016. Currently, Emily teaches at New York Film Academy. Emily was a Resident Actor at Sewanee Writers' Conference for 2016-2018. She loves reading, listening to podcasts and escaping the city for the great outdoors. 


Sean McIntyre

Sean McIntyre is a New York based performer and educator. As an actor he has performed on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and regional stages all across the country. As an educator, he has taught at every level from Kindergarten to University. While earning his MFA at University of California, San Diego, he taught classes in Public Speaking and Acting, for which he earned the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2017. He has a BA in Education/Theater from James Madison University, and was a Resident Actor at the 2017 and 2018 Sewanee Writers' Conference.


Anne Ray

Since moving to NYC in 2004 to attend the Brooklyn College MFA program in fiction, Anne Ray has managed to pull off readings at Pete’s Candy Store, Housing Works, and Books are Magic without panicking (mostly). Her story “Weekend Trip”, published in Gettysburg Review, received a 2017 Pushcart Prize. She received the 2014 StoryQuarterly fiction prize and the 2016 Tampa Review Danahy Prize, and stories have also appeared in OpiumLIT, Conduit, Gulf CoastCut Bank, and Indiana Review. She is the author of the libretto for "Symposium", a ten-minute opera, a collaboration with composer Oliver Caplan, performed in 2017 by the Boston Opera Collaborative, and has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her day jobs have included waitress, gardener, English teacher, and fish monger. Today she works in academic publishing, presently at JSTOR, the digital scholarly library. Read her story “Guidance & Control” at Adirondack Review.

How we met

In the summer of 2017, the three of us--Anne Ray, Sean McIntyre and Emily Shain--found ourselves at the Sewanee Writers' Conference.

Emily and Sean were the Resident Actors, lending their voices to the playwright's new work. Anne was a participant in Fiction, studying with Margot Livesey and Randall Kenan.

For almost two weeks, day and night, we attended workshops, readings, and open mics with some of the best writers in the country. We heard performances of every kind, from those in front of podiums and quiet audiences, to late night spontaneous gatherings (okay... after a drink or two).

When the conference ended, the experience had illuminated the connections between performance and prose readings. We realized that many of the skills of performance were teachable--but weren’t being taught. We returned to NYC and began to form ways to merge our skills to create a workshop that empowered writers with the technical skills and confidence to give strong readings of their own work. Using our individual expertise, we have aimed to create a performance workshop that goes right to the heart of making prose readings shine.

Because once you've made it to your public reading, the hard part should be over.