Hello, fans of all things Shakespeare-in-education — my name is Clayton Stromberger and I’m a new Associate Editor for Education at The Shakespeare Standard. I direct the University of Texas’ Shakespeare at Winedale Outreach Program for K-8 students in the Central Texas area. I will be alternating posts with Claire and look forward to hearing from you.
Here are some glimpses at what’s going on in the world of Shakespeare and education this week as 2013 really gets rolling…
One of the nation’s most famous troupes of “little eyases,” the Hobart Shakespeareans of Hobart Elementary in inner-city Los Angeles, are hard at work on this year’s project, The Tempest. For those of you who have not seen the PBS documentary on this program or read any of fifth grade teacher Rafe Esquith’s books, the Shakespeareans are a group of students who stay after school every day to work on a performance that includes an all-student rock band and full-company dance sequences. The Hobart Shakespeareans website announced this week that requests for tickets for the spring performances in Esquith’s classroom will be considered beginning on March 15. In the meantime, check out the website’s photos and video clips from last year’s dazzling Measure for Measure.
Summer is not a comin’ in just yet, but for parents it’s not too early to begin looking ahead for applications to Shakespeare summer camps. Camp Shakespeare, a two-week residential camp for students ages eleven through sixteen in eastern Central Texas, is now accepting applications for its two sessions. The program was founded by University of Texas Professor Emeritus Dr. James B. Ayres and celebrated its tenth year last summer. Performances are held in the Winedale Theater Barn in rural Fayette County, Texas. Applications are due by April 15.
For those whose high school experiences with Shakespeare made them feel a bit like Constable Dull in Love’s Labor’s Lost, the new Prologue series at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater offers a way to ease the “Shakes-fear” and enhance the theater-going experience. Before each performance, company members — in a model inspired by the festival’s Education Department workshops — will provide an interactive introduction to the play’s plot, characters, and themes. In addition, on one performance day of the run of each play, playgoers with children ages five through twelve can drop them off at the festivals’ new PlayShop arts activities program; the PlayShop for Othello is on March 1.
Her Hamlet, a forty-minute production of the University of Pittsburgh’s Shakespeare-in-the-Schools program, has begun the second phase of its tour of middle and high schools in Pennsylvania. The play is a “vivid interpretation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet and retells the story through the eyes of the women in the Prince’s life” as experienced in the imagination of Shakespeare’s youngest daughter, Judith. Performances continue through April.
We welcome your feedback and comments about any of the stories you’ve read in this, or any other, post on TSS. If you’ve seen one of the productions or featured companies we’ve mentioned this week, leave us your thoughts. Start the conversation!