Archive for March, 2014

Bottom says this line to the troupe of actors at the very end of the famous mechanicals scene in Act I of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A group of a little less than 20 teachers from around the metropolitan area took Bottom’s advice to heart and met at Ripley-Grier Studios in Manhattan to learn techniques for teaching one of the Bard’s most famous (and most often taught) comedies.

Teachers create body maps in order to better understand the emotions of Demetrius and Lysander.

Teachers create body maps in order to better understand the emotions of Demetrius and Lysander.

The workshop, sponsored by The Shakespeare Society and led by Wendy Halm-Violette, a long time English teacher in New York City public schools, encouraged teachers to take a romp through Shakespeare, learning ways to engage their students with the Bard’s text.  Halm-Violette encouraged teachers to experience the text like their students in order to learn better how to teach it.

This workshop was by no means a lecture, however. Teachers were often out of their seats acting out scenes, working in groups, drawing, and playing their way through the scenes.  For example, teachers were encouraged to modernize the scene when Demetrius rejects Helena in order to examine how gender roles were thought of at the time of the play.

Personally, I was impressed with how engaging many of the activities were. I had read the play before, but I was able to gain a different level of appreciation for the language and for the greater themes of the play. I particularly enjoyed an exercise that encouraged quick memorization of lines and modernizing them via a rapid-fire game.

Overall, the training was a success and reinvigorated the teachers to try out the new techniques the next time that they taught Midsummer or any other of Shakespeare’s plays.

Post by Ricky Bordelon, Education Intern, The Shakespeare Society


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Shakespeare’s 450th birthday is less than a month away, so we’re giving you a preview of all the celebrations happening around the city.

Special Events

Shakespeare at the New York Public Library
April 3-25, 2014
Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (Bryant Park)

Shakespeare’s Montaigne: Performance & Commentary
April 11, 2014 at 6:30 PM
BAM Fisher (Brooklyn)

Shakespeare’s Birthday Sonnet Slam
April 25, 2014 at 1:00 PM
Naumburg Bandshell (Central Park)

Shakespeare Without Words: The Tempest and The Dream
April 28, 2014 at 7:00 PM
The Kaye Playhouse (Manhattan)

English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Competition
May 4, 2014
Lincoln Center Theater


Running until April 20, 2014
A new play about a production of Othello
St. Ann’s Warehouse (Brooklyn)

Running until May 4, 2014
Polonsky Shakespeare Center (Brooklyn)

Starts April 25, 2014
Queens Theatre (Queens)

Know of any more celebrations happening?  Let us know!

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2014 Face to Face Conference

Courtesy of the NYC Arts in Education Roundtable

2014 Face to Face Conference 

April 16 & 17, 2014
The City College of New York (CCNY)
Shepard Hall
West 136th Street and Convent Avenue

Join us for these Shakespeare sessions:

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
10:30 AM-12:00 PM
Shakespeare Education in the Age of the Common Core

Thursday, April 17, 2014
2:00-3:30 PM
Shakespeare in the City: Resources for NYC Shakespeare Educators 

Learn more about these sessions.


Register today.  Registration is available until April 8th at 6:00 PM.

Questions?  Contact Jennifer Clarke (Managing Director, NYC Arts in Education Roundtable) at jclarke@nycaieroundtable.org.





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 2014 Shakespeare Teacher Intensive:  Romeo and Juliet 

A program of the English Speaking Union and the Folger Shakespeare Library
Co-sponsored by the Office of Arts and Special Projects (New York City DOE)

Date: July 24 & 25, 2014 (9:00 AM to 5:00 PM)

Location:  ESU Headquarters (144 E. 39th St., New York, NY 10016)

Registration Fee:  $250 (includes tuition and materials)

Some scholarships available for full-time NYC public school teachers. Scholarship applications coming soon. For more information, contact Katharine Moran at kmoran@esuus.org or 212.818.1200 x 223

Registration Deadline:  June 24, 2014

Register Today 

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Q:  What historic painting was found outside Dublin at Newbridge House?

A:  The Cobbe portrait (believed to be the only portrait of Shakespeare painted during his lifetime).

Want to learn more?  Read this 2009 article from Time Magazine.

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Photo Credit: Theatre for a New Audience

Theatre for a New Audience’s King Lear opens at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn tonight!  Other local Shakespeare productions on now:

February 18 – March 23
An RSC in American Production
Adapted and Directed by Tarell McCraney
The Public Theater

February 28 – March 16
A Fiasco Theater Production
The New Victory Theater

March 26 – 30
National Theater of China production
N.Y.U. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts

March 25 – April 20
A new play about a production of Othello
By Lolita Chakrabarti
St. Ann’s Warehouse

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Uttering the eloquent words of Shakespeare onstage made me feel as though I had blossomed into the confident speaker I have always yearned to become.” – 2014 NYC Competition Finalist

NY Shakespeare 2014 082Thousands of local high school students were empowered by Shakespeare this winter through the ESU New York Shakespeare Competition. The Competition is a free, performance-based education program in which high school students read, analyze, perform and recite the Bard’s timeless monologues and sonnets. Through the interactive study of Shakespeare, students develop their communication skills, increase their self-confidence and gain a greater appreciation of literature.  Approximately 75 schools across the New York City area held classroom competitions and selected student representatives to present Shakespeare at the iconic New York Public Library. There the students showcased how much they’d learned by expressing the Bard’s words with understanding, feeling and clarity.

Learn more about ESU New York Shakespeare Competition

While preparing for this competition, I have gained a greater interest in Shakespeare, and I have learned so much about his writing techniques that have allowed me to understand the texts more clearly.” -2014 NYC Competition Finalist

NY Shakespeare 2014 043These talented students all impressed the Competition judges with their firm grasp of Shakespeare’s language and characters, and twelve students (representing the best of the best in New York City) were selected by them to present at a finals round at the Morgan Library & Museum. Regan Sims of the Professional Performing Arts School in Manhattan ultimately placed 1st in the competition; she was awarded $250 from the Shakespeare Society and will go on to represent the New York City area at National Competition (held May 4-6 at Lincoln Center Theater). Jordan Mayo of the Urban Assembly School for the Performing Arts placed 2nd and Chiara Mannarino of the Marymount School of New York placed 3rd. Congratulations to all the participating students on a job well done!

Read more about the 2014 NYC Competition Finals 

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