“I learned how to be my true self and feel so incredibly comfortable in my own skin,” said a senior from Chatham High School. “These four years have changed me more than I can explain.”
(Lenox, MA) – The annual Fall Festival of Shakespeare is back! Bringing hundreds of teenagers from ten area high schools to the Tina Packer Playhouse at Shakespeare & Company. Beginning on November 21st, the four-day festival marks the culmination of the award-winning program that places Shakespeare & Company Education Artists in ten high schools across Berkshire and Columbia counties for nine-weeks. 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 Festival has been called ‘a rock concert of Shakespeare,’ said Director of Education Kevin G. Coleman, ” but it’s actually closer to another Woodstock of Shakespeare. It’s wild, hilarious, heart-breaking and deeply satisfying. It’s what you’d expect from Shakespeare and from students’ passion to bring those iconic characters alive. You have to come be a part of it all.”
Led by Coleman, the Shakespeare & Company Education Artists, Technical Theatre Designers, and school liaisons, the Fall Festival is a celebration, rather than a competition. Students delve into Shakespeare’s works, unpack the language, and savor the humor, intensity, and transcendent beauty of these plays. Daily rehearsals build on students’ personal connection to the text and 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.
“I learned how to communicate, how to push my boundaries of comfort, but still be accepting,” said a 9th Grade Student from Mt. Everett. “I learned how to be both a better actor and a better person in real life.”
The Fall Festival of Shakespeare was the subject of a 2-year study by graduate students from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. In summarizing their research, they recommended replication and adaptation in high schools across 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, India, South Korea, and most recently, Israel.
The ten schools participating in the 2019 Fall Festival of Shakespeare are Berkshire Waldorf High School, Chatham High School (New York), Lee Middle and High School, Lenox Memorial Middle and 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 each other and the public in a four-day festival at the Tina Packer Playhouse from Thursday, November 21 through Sunday, November 24.
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 shakespeare.org, or by calling the Shakespeare & Company Box Office at (413) 637-3353.
Fall Festival of Shakespeare Performance Schedule:
Thursday, November 21
6:15pm – The Berkshire Waldorf High School’s The Comedy of Errors Directed by Lezlie Lee & Zoe Wohlfeld
8:30pm – Lee Middle and High School’s Henry IV, Part 1 Directed by David Bertoldi & Kirsten Peacock
Friday, November 22
6:15pm – Mount Greylock Regional High School’s The Tempest Directed by Tom Jaeger & Lilliana Macarone
8:30pm – Taconic High School’s Henry V Directed by Luke Haskell & Dara Brown
Saturday, November 23
1:15pm – Mount Everett Regional High School’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Directed by Madeleine Rose Maggio & Devante Owens
3:30pm – Lenox Memorial Middle and High School’s Julius Caesar Directed by Rory Hammond & Noa Egozi
6:15pm – Monument Mountain Regional High School’s Twelfth Night Directed by Dana Harrison & Diana Evans
8:30pm – Springfield Central High School’s Henry VI , Part 1 Directed by Jake Merriman & Ellie Bartz
Sunday, November 24
1:15pm Chatham High School’s Henry VI, Part 2&3 Directed by Lori Evans & JoJo McDonald
3:30pm – Taconic Hills High School’s Macbeth Directed by Greg Boover & Kirstin Leigh Daniel
5:00pm – The Reverence (closing event)
The Fall Festival of Shakespeare is made possible with funding from the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation, the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Janey Fund, and the Local Cultural Councils—supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency—of Lee, Lenox, New Marlborough, Northern Berkshire, Richmond, Sheffield, Springfield, Stockbridge, and Tyringham; as well as many other individuals and local businesses.
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.