Thanks to a generous grant from WestonArts, Weston High School English 10 students had the opportunity to participate in a specialized residency program, managed by Shakesperience Productions of Waterbury, CT. Shakesperience is a professional theater company that reaches a Northeast audience of adults and students alike with outdoor and in-studio performances, Saturday and private acting classes, school & camp tours, and residencies.
During the custom-designed residency, students enjoyed imaginative exploration through a range of opportunities for language study, speaking, acting, and analyzing. Over the course of four workshops, students liberated Shakespeare from the page and reunited his language with action and gesture. Students realized firsthand that Shakespeare wrote for the ear and that the dynamics of his iambic pentameter line are meant to fit the natural rhythms of spoken English. The resident artists/teachers in the program worked with the sophomores to adapt and direct performances of scenes from Shakespeare’s comedy Twelfth Night. After completing an in-depth analysis of scenes, students worked as an ensemble to organize all parts of a large scale, formal stage production, which included: acting, staging, directing, producing, and set design. The final production took place on March 2nd. The final performance was a big success; it was thoroughly enjoyed by both students and staff members alike. Without a doubt, the final performance fostered a strong sense of community pride and served as a positive means of self-expression and self-discovery.
On behalf of the Weston High School English teachers and English 10 students, we warmly thank the WestonArts for their support and generous funding. Specialized programs, such as Shakesperience, break down the walls of a classroom, enrich and add additional rigor to the existing classroom, and provide opportunities for students to stretch – to get out of their comfort zones and take positive risks.
Mrs. Amy Holmes, English
Mrs. Venessa Eisenman, English
Mr. Damian Long, English
Mrs. Christine Cincotta, Curriculum Instructional Leader, English