September is that time of year when the seasons are somewhat “in standing water”… betwixt summer and fall. So ’tis with our education news this week, as some of it looks back, some of it looks forward to swirling leaves and thrilling performances…
The British are coming, the British are coming!
One sure sign of autumn’s approach is the fall tour of the Actors from the London Stage (AFTLS), which sends five-person teams of performers from the UK to perform and teach in five-day residencies at universities across the United States. The program, sponsored by the University of Notre Dame, will be bringing its production of Othello to eight universities starting on Sept. 16: Notre Dame, University of Texas at San Antonio, Wellesley, U.S. Naval Academy, University of North Carolina Charlotte, DePauw, University of Texas at Austin, and Berea College.
AFTLS performances are actor-directed and feature a focus on Shakespeare’s language and clear storytelling; the performers only use what props and costumes they can pack in their suitcases. During the residency the troupe members lead workshops and visit college classrooms as guest teachers.
The players are come hither
Another fall tour is gearing up at the Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival – the fall 2013 Willpower tour of schools in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. This year’s production is Macbeth and will be staged Oct. 9 – Nov. 8. The festival also recently concluded its annual end-of-summer run of “Shakespeare for Kids,” or “S4K,” a lively puppet-show introduction to Shakespeare for young children.
Short as any Dream (well, perhaps a bit shorter than some)…
An article in the Columbus Dispatch highlights an upcoming performance of a 45-minute version of Midsummer Night’s Dream adapted for child performers. Called The Rude Mechanicals, the performance features young players selected from attendees at a summer camp held by the CATCO theater company in Columbus, Ohio.
“Shakespeare Saved My Life,” a spring 2013 release by Laura Bates about working on Shakespeare with maximum-security prisoners.
Shakespeare the play therapist
In a response to a summertime New York Times “Opinionator” blog by Gregory Currie entitled, “Does Great Literature Make Us Better People?” – in which Currie suggested that there is no proof it does – Jon Morris wrote a column for PopMatters reviewing Laura Bates’ 2013 book, Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard, calling it a “timely reply to Currie’s query.”
Writes Morris: “If some will consider Bates’s book subversive, it will be because Bates allows us to know the prisoners as men rather than beasts or criminals. This is especially true in the case of Larry Newton, whose insights into Shakespeare’s plays and characters (often quoted at length) are astounding, and make for compelling and illuminating reading.”
We look forward to your feedback and comments about any of the stories you’ve read here today. Let us know what you think and start the conversation!
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