Posted October 30, 2018 in Press Releases
Shakespeare & Company Celebrates 30 Years of Festivals bringing Students Together
(Lenox, MA) – Celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year, the annual Fall Festival of Shakespeare will bring hundreds of teenagers from ten different high schools to the Tina Packer Playhouse at Shakespeare & Company. Beginning on November 15th, the four-day festival marks the culmination of the nine-week program that places Shakespeare & Company Education Artists in ten high schools across Berkshire and Columbia counties. During the program, students explore creative thinking, teamwork and Shakespeare as they create a 90-minute fully-produced performance to be shared with their neighboring communities. The Fall Festival of Shakespeare is nationally recognized for its innovative teaching, emotional intelligence training, and philosophy of creativity and collaboration that encourages students from a variety of schools to come together and support one another.
“The Fall Festival has had a significant impact on the culture of these ten high schools and their surrounding communities for multiple generations," said Director of Education Kevin G. Coleman. "The Festival is where students embody Shakespeare's words, rigorously think, deeply feel, wildly imagine and speak – without inhibition – the thoughts and feelings, the joys and heartbreaks of his characters. While The Fall Festival of Shakespeare has become a celebrated tradition for our local communities and for Shakespeare & Company, its influence has been spreading across the country in adaptations from Atlanta, Georgia to Portland, Oregon."
Led by Coleman, the Shakespeare & Company Education Artists and Technical Theatre Designers and school mentors, the Fall Festival is a celebration, rather than a competition. Students are encouraged to delve into Shakespeare’s works, unpack the language, and savor the humor, intensity, and transcendent beauty of these plays. Daily rehearsals focus on students’ personal responses to the text and connection to the language. Students also have the opportunity to develop skills in stage combat, performance aesthetics, dance, technical theatre, costuming, stage management, marketing, and publicity during their Fall Festival experience.
The Fall Festival of Shakespeare was the subject of a 2-year study by students from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. In summarizing their research, they recommended replication and adaptation in every high school in the nation. The Festival has inspired long-running replications in Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago Illinois; Portland, Oregon; and DePauw University in the middle of Indiana. Replications are taking shape in San Diego; Toronto; Long Island; and Portland, Maine. The ethic and aesthetic of The Festival has influenced countless teachers from nearly every state through support from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Festival’s socially responsible teachings have influenced the education programs in other Shakespeare companies across the country, as well as Canada, the UK, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, India, and South Korea.
“This has been a life-changing experience," said a Taconic Hills Student. "It has made me stronger and more confident.”
The ten schools participating in the 2018 Fall Festival of Shakespeare are Berkshire Waldorf High School, Chatham High School (New York), Lee High School, Lenox Memorial High School, Monument Mountain Regional High School, Mount Everett Regional High School, Mount Greylock Regional High School, Springfield Central High School, Taconic High School, and Taconic Hills High School (New York). Students from all ten schools will gather in a spirit of celebration to perform their plays for the public in a four-day festival at the Tina Packer Playhouse from Thursday, November 15 through Sunday, November 18.
“Fall Festival showed me an inner strength that I was never aware of," said a Fall Festival Alumni. "It taught me to appreciate the beauty and complexity of the human being, and to believe in myself. I left Fall Fest a more confident person, ready to embrace a bigger world, as a bigger person.”
Tickets are $16 for Adults and $10 for students, and passes for the Festival are $80 for Adults and $35 for Students. The $4 service fee is waived for all Fall Festival tickets and Passes Tickets are now on sale and are available online at www.shakespeare.org, or by calling the Shakespeare & Company Box Office at (413) 637-3353. To observe a performance or to arrange interviews, please contact Molly Merrihew, Publicity Director by phone at (413) 637-1199, ext. 145, or by email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fall Festival of Shakespeare Performance Schedule:
Thursday, November 15:
6:15pm - Lenox High School’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Rory Hammond and David Bertoldi
8:30pm - Chatham High School’s The Tempest, directed by Lori Evans and Sara Holt
Friday, November 16
6:15pm - Lee High School’s As You Like It, directed by Doug Seldin and Alison Howard
8:30pm - Mount Greylock Regional High School’s Henry V, directed by Tom Jaeger and Noa Egozi
Saturday, November 17
1:15pm - Monument Mountain Regional High School’s Romeo and Juliet, directed by Dana Harrison and Connie Russo
3:30pm - Mount Everett Regional High School’s Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Caitlin Kraft and Madeleine Rose Maggio
6:15pm - Taconic High School’s Hamlet, directed by Dara Silverman and Luke Haskell
8:30pm - Springfield Central High School’s A Winter’s Tale, directed by Lezlie Lee and Jake Merriman
Sunday, November 18
1:15pm Waldorf High School’s Romeo and Juliet, directed by Annie Considine and Ellie Bartz
3:30pm - Taconic Hills High School’s Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Caroline Calkins and Greg Boover
5:00pm - The Reverence (closing event)
The Fall Festival of Shakespeare is supported in part by: Deborah and Bill Ryan; Jeffrey Konowitch and Wendy Laurin; National Endowment for the Arts; Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation; Chervenak-Nunnalle Foundation; The Janey Fund; the Lee, Lenox, New Marlborough, Northern Berkshire, Pittsfield, Richmond, Sheffield, Springfield, and Tyringham Cultural Councils – Local agencies supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency; and a coalition of local businesses, families, and individuals.
Kevin G. Coleman
(Director of Education, Board of Trustees, Fight Director, Founding Member of Shakespeare & Company) Kevin is one of Shakespeare & Company’s artistic and administrative leaders. He works in the Performance and Training departments as an actor, teacher and director, and oversees the mission of the Education department. Kevin teaches text analysis, stage combat and clown, and has been a guest teacher or director at MIT, Harvard, L.S.U., Stanford, Q.U.T.- Brisbane, Lincoln Center, the Folger Library, Shakespeare Festivals in both Stratfords, and the Mercury Theatre in Colchester, UK. Kevin is the Theatre Director at the Austen Riggs Center where he has directed over 30 productions. In 2016, Kevin was Runner-Up for the Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education.
About the Education Program
The Education Program at Shakespeare & Company is one of the most extensive theatre-in-education programs in the Northeast, and has reached over a million students since 1978 with innovative performances, workshops, and residencies. Guided by Kevin G. Coleman and Jennie M. Jadow, the Education Programs Manager, the artists, teachers, and directors of the Education Program continue to develop and refine programs for elementary, middle, and high school students and teachers across the country.
About Shakespeare & Company
Located in the beautiful Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, Shakespeare & Company is one of the leading Shakespeare festivals of the world. Founded in 1978, the organization attracts over 40,000 patrons annually. The Company is also home to an internationally renowned Center for Actor Training and award-winning Education Program. More information is available at www.shakespeare.org.
# # #