Posted December 10, 2020 in Press Releases
December 18th - 20th
(Lenox, MA) - Shakespeare & Company presents its Virtual Fall Festival of Shakespeare, featuring graduating seniors of Berkshire and Columbia County, in light of COVID-19. This special online only festival is premiering Friday, December 18th and available to stream through Sunday, December 20th. This celebrates the culmination of a 5-week program where 30 students came together to explore creative thinking, teamwork and Shakespeare, as they create 45-minute virtual performances to be shared with their classmates and wider communities.
The 2020 Fall Festival is a reimagined online version of the Company’s annual Fall Festival of Shakespeare, nationally recognized for its innovative teaching, and philosophy of creativity and collaboration that encourages over 500 students from a variety of schools to come together and support one another. While the program could not be held in its accustomed venue in the Tina Packer Playhouse the Company felt it was imperative to create an expressive space for students and give seniors the chance to take their final bows.
"We are so very proud of the seniors who have come together to continue the Festival work and create such an ambitious project against such daunting odds,” said Kevin G. Coleman. “We are grateful to the teachers, staff and directors who have bravely envisioned and executed a way to continue this work. And we are once again humbled by the attitude of care and support for each other that needs to become a model for the world.”
Led by Education Director Kevin G. Coleman, the Shakespeare & Company Education Artists, and Shakespeare & Company Costumers this virtual Fall Festival, like past Festivals is a non-competitive celebration. Senior students from eight schools have delved into Shakespeare’s works, unpack the language, and savor the humor, intensity, and transcendent beauty of these plays. Daily rehearsals over the past five weeks have built on students’ personal connection to the text and the language. Students also had the opportunity to develop skills in stage combat, performance aesthetics, dance, technical theatre, costuming, stage management, marketing, and publicity during this virtual Fall Festival experience.
Senior students of this year’s special Fall Festival join the company from eight different schools across Berkshire county and Columbia County, including Berkshire Waldorf High School, Chatham High School (New York), Lee Middle and High School, Monument Mountain Regional High School, Mount Everett Regional High School, Mount Greylock Regional High School, Springfield Central High School, and Taconic High School.
Shakespeare & Company Education Artists directing in this year’s festival include: Lori Evans, Rory Hammond, Madeleine Maggio, Devante Owens, Kristen Peacock, and Nick Nudler. With costumes designed by the Company’s Costume Director, Govane Lohbauer.
The 30 participant students have formed three groups to create pieces to share with their classmates. The students look forward to gathering virtually in a spirit of celebration to perform their plays for each other and the community virtually. Register online at shakespeare.org , while the event is free, donations are encouraged.For more information on this performance and others visit shakespeare.org.
“At the start of our project our students were looking for a sense of community,” said Fall Festival Director Lori Evans. “So we are focusing on providing that for them with the playful comedy, Love’s Labour’s Lost. This week a student from Monument Regional High School in Great Barrington, told the group that she feels ‘a sense of belonging that she hasn’t felt since March.’”
2020 Fall Festival of Shakespeare Performances:
Love’s Labour’s Lost, Directed by Lori Evans & Kirsten Peacock
Julius Caesar, Directed by Madeleine Rose Maggio & Devante Owens
The King John Project, Directed by Rory Hammond & Nick Nudler
About 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. Learn more at www.shakespeare.org.
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Shakespeare & Company gratefully acknowledges the support of the Mass Cultural Council.