Nathan Woodworth grew up in Sisters and had been working in Los Angeles before the coronavirus pandemic put the entertainment industry on hold. photo by Bob Turton
Nathan Woodworth grew up in Sisters and had been working in Los Angeles before the coronavirus pandemic put the entertainment industry on hold. photo by Bob Turton
Nathan Woodworth has received a unique opportunity in his acting career.

He has been granted The Fulbright/John Wood LAMDA Award that will allow him to attend the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA). LAMDA has a one-percent acceptance rate — and a huge success rate for the actors who come out of the school. LAMDA alumni have won five Oscars, 12 Tonys, 15 Emmys, 19 Golden Globes, 21 BAFTAs, and 38 Olivier Awards. Fulbright recipients have won 60 Nobel Prizes, 88 Pulitzer Prizes, and 75 MacArthur Fellowships. The award pays full tuition and a living stipend to cover the one-year classical-acting master’s degree offered by the institution.

Only one such scholarship is awarded in the U.S. each year and Woodworth is the sole American recipient.

Woodworth attended Sisters High School for band and drama classes, and graduated from the online Baker Web Academy. Woodworth had been living in Los Angeles pursuing his career in acting up until moving back home to Sisters in March 2020 when the pandemic hit, to be with his family when the entire entertainment industry was put on hold.

After almost a year off working any sort of acting job, Woodworth was in a bit of a limbo phase figuring out what to do next. He decided to apply for the scholarship.

“I thought I would just throw my hat into the ring, and it was really surreal and didn’t expect it to happen,” he said. “In order to accomplish my goals in acting and theater, I need training at a top-notch place and LAMDA had always been a dream school of mine…. “I’ve always admired London and LAMDA because of the actors that have come out that school.”

The LAMDA master’s program is a one-year-long program as opposed to a potential three- to four-year master’s program in the United States.

The application process for the scholarship was an in-depth process, requiring seven essays and a statement proposal for what Woodworth wanted to integrate into his career. Woodworth has always had a passion for Native American theater because of his own Karuk native heritage. “I’ve wanted to explore how to bring native storytelling to the stage and wanted to explore it on my own and it was really a turning point to have my own artistic mission in theater, so I was challenged to write this statement for the scholarship as there isn’t that much Native theater out there,” he said.

Woodworth studies the classic plays and theater productions and hopes to bring them together with indigenous storytelling.

“The indigenous storytelling can sometimes be hard to follow, because it doesn’t follow the traditional western story structure. It becomes Native stories married with the structure of the classics,” said Woodworth.

Woodworth wrote this statement of intention for the scholarship application. Woodworth hopes in the future to create grants and bring and teach theater to Native peoples and on Native land.

Woodworth also had to film audition tapes for a process that was conducted virtually on Zoom. He filmed a monologue from “Tales of an Urban Indian,” by Darrell Dennis, and “Richard II” and “To Be Or Not To Be.”

Woodworth made it through the audition process at LAMDA and on April 1 found out he had been awarded the Fulbright Scholarship.

“I found out on April Fool’s Day thinking it was a government’s cruel joke,” he said.

LAMDA is beginning more in-person instruction with more activities opening up in the UK with vaccine rollouts.

Woodworth looks forward to diving into studying the classics, including Shakespeare and the other classical theater plays.

“It was one area of acting I hadn’t been able to study deeply; my actor guild buddies and I would piece together training. It’s nice to know that I am going to a place where the focus is in one area of acting,” said Woodworth.

The instructors at LAMDA are the cream of the crop who have groomed and trained some of the best actors in the world.

“The quality of the teaching is huge, and the program director is new, and is a really hands-on director. I look forward to connecting with other students and teachers and getting to explore London,” Woodworth said.

At LAMDA, Woodworth plans to take a few courses in learning how to teach theater and acting.

“Acting jobs come in waves, so I want the experience of being able to teach as well,” he said.

Woodworth will be going to London to begin classes starting in September, living and studying there until September 2022. At the end of the program, the students put on showcases and final productions of Shakespearean classics in London.

“I just want to thank Sisters and my friends and family and everyone that has supported me,” Woodworth said. “I also want to thank John Sanders, my karate instructor, who I’ve known since I was 18, who taught me the value of the process of learning. Through John I became process-oriented rather than result-oriented. This has made me an extremely resilient student of acting and is a big part of why I am where I am.”