Welcome, readers! This week in Shakesepeare education, we find professional actors mentoring and working with students across various levels of experience to help kindle their interest in studying and performing Shakespeare’s works …
Next month, education artists with Shakespeare & Company in Massachusetts will begin working with ten local schools for a nine-week Fall Festival of Shakespeare that allows students to explore the playwright’s works. The festival aims to celebrate Shakespeare’s plays rather than create a competition among students. Participants focus on combat, dance, language, performance, management, marketing, and technical theatre skills. In addition, the technical and costume staff from Shakespeare & Company work with the various groups to help create unique designs for each play.
The program culminates with performances in the Tina Packer Playhouse.
Meanwhile, students from the University of Wyoming will perform Shakespeare for twelve local communities in March, performed “in the style of the Actors from the London Stage.” The University will host several members from AFTLS next spring as artists-in-residence for “The Shakespeare Project,” in which students will perform The Merchant of Venice, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Much Ado About Nothing. Those productions will then tour the state in March, along with Actors From the London Stage (AFTLS). An AFTLS troupe will also perform Macbeth in tandem with the residency.
In addition, Wyoming PBS has partnered with the UW Department of Theatre and Dance, as well as Wyoming Public Media, to provide a grant toward complementing the broadcast of the second season of “Shakespeare Uncovered,” on PBS. The grant, awarded by WNET Education, will provide fifteen thousand dollars in support of the three touring play productions and interactive community events as well as allow Wyoming PBS to produce a half-hour television program on “The Shakespeare Project.”
Finally, NorthJersey.com reports the story of actors from New York’s Public Theater performing for students of Paterson Academy for the Gifted and Talented and Rosa Parks High School. The group presented Pericles and rejuvenated student interest in studying Shakespeare’s works.
From NorthJersey.com :
“I didn’t expect Shakespeare to be so all encompassing,” Watts said afterward. “The acting contained blood and gore, but at the same time romance.”
The Public Theater has brought Shakespeare workshops and performances to Paterson for three years. The local Hamilton Partnership for Paterson seeks to “enhance the educational, social, and economic, benefits for Paterson and the nation.”
The theater’s Mobile Shakespeare Unit includes performances of Pericles that are open to the public.
Other Bits of Interest
- Baltimore’s Walters Art Museum is currently offering an exhibit about the founding father and son collecting team of William and Henry Walters. The collection, called “From Rye to Raphael: The Walters Story,” will include a volume of Shakespeare’s First Folio, published in 1623.
- On Thursday, November 6, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s will begin its Carnegie Hall series with a Shakespeare-inspired program that includes Purcell’s “Suite from A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Tchaikovsky’s “The Tempest.”
What do you think about any of these stories? Have you had experiences with any of these well-known troupes? Do you know of another theater company doing excellent outreach with students? Leave us a comment and start the conversation …