SHAKESPEARE IN SCHOOLS
This is a fantastic opportunity for the kids to learn Shakespeare
and language at a much deeper level. It is really incredible. [Walking
the dog's work] is absolutely awesome.
Greg Wallendall, Theater Director, Beloit Memorial High School, WI
Students leave the work with a sense for the richness of Shakespeare's
language, how we become beautiful by stepping into it, and how it unifies
our intentions with our actions, who we are with what we do. Only Shakespeare
offers this experience in such a profound way. He opens up the imaginative
world for us and invites us in
Young people have a unique ability,
because of where they are in their development, to access the life of
a Shakespeare play. Experiencing the life in Shakespeare, they understand
what it means to be human. He expresses an incredible love for the nature
and potential of the human being. Who isn't seeking this experience of
David Anderson, Executive Director, in an interview with Amy Stanley of
the Beloit Daily News
Walking the dog Theater (WTD) specializes in creating productions of
Shakespeare plays with students from 13 years of age. No other playwright
offers as large a spectrum of opportunity to explore all things human,
and to exercise thinking, feeling and action in as meaningful a way. Encountering
Shakespeare as actors, the young people engage in an artistic and educational
experience that is at once personal and creative, particular and universal.
WTD encourages students to enter Shakespeare's powerful, rich language
with playfulness and ease. The students meet characters who are inspiring,
and bring the stories alive through their imagination. The experience
of performing a Shakespeare play completes a process that involves the
students' thinking powers, spurs their emotional maturity, and widens
their range of physical and emotional expression and movement. The young
people take with them the experience of having faced a challenge and having
overcome it, a sense of achievement and success that will accompany them
into the future.
The Stateline Shakespeare Festival
Walking the dog Theater (WTD) inaugurated its Shakespeare in Schools
program in 2005 to inspire students with the substance of Shakespeares
plays (and other plays) and to involve them in a process that awakens
their creativity. Students have performed six plays at various schools
around the country, including A Midsummer Nights Dream
at Beloit Memorial last year. This year WTD created a region-wide festival
of Shakespeare plays within public high schools, involving more schools
and more students in an opportunity for artistic exchange between neighboring
The Stateline Shakespeare Festival
- offers schools a non-competitive opportunity
to share their artistic work
- gives communities the chance to experience
the life of The Bard through the voice of its youth
- involves theater students from Beloit
College as intern-assistants
- enables students to access the life and
the language of Shakespeare in a playful and deeply meaningful way
- provides high school students with exposure
to professional artists who will foster their skills and creativity
- expands the capacities of young people
for empathy and understanding of themselves and others
This year the project took close to 70 high school
students from the Stateline area in Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois
into the world of Shakespeare, which they discovered within themselves
through the process of developing an ensemble and creating a play together.
The intense creative process awakens confidence, self-expression, and
an understanding for group dynamics and the nature of art, all vital experiences
for the growing young person. The three ensembles shared their work with
each other, with their respective communities, and with parents and teachers.
Last years work helped to develop a support base within the Stateline
area for such experiences. Community members have contributed at every
level toward pioneering the initiativecostumes, set, publicity,
etc.creating an event that reflects the strengths, the interests,
and the life of the community.
WTD is planning to expand the Festival next year and to make it a regular
part of the Stateline areas cultural life in the years to come.
Please contact WTD if you are interested in being part of or contributing
to this community-building event.
The Stateline Shakespeare Festival is a project of Walking the dog Theater.