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Kevin Coleman, the director of education at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, introduces students at a stage combat common class held Oct. 3 at Monument Mountain Regional High School in Great Barrington as part of the Fall Festival of Shakespeare, Shakespeare & Company's annual high school performance series. This year's Fall Festival performances will run Thursday, Nov. 15, through Sunday, Nov. 18 at Shakespeare & Company's Tina Packer Playhouse. Photo courtesy Shakespeare & Company

Fall Festival of Shakespeare celebrates 30 years

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By Tuesday, Nov 13, 2018 Learning 1

Fall Festival of Shakespeare celebrates 30 years

Image courtesy Shakespeare & Company

Image courtesy Shakespeare & Company

Lenox — Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, the annual Fall Festival of Shakespeare will bring hundreds of teenagers from 10 different high schools to the Tina Packer Playhouse at Shakespeare & Company Thursday, Nov. 15, through Sunday, Nov. 18. The four-day festival marks the culmination of the nine-week program that places Shakespeare & Company education artists in high schools in Berkshire and Hampden counties in Massachusetts as well as and Columbia County in New York. During the program, students explore creative thinking, teamwork and Shakespeare as they create 90-minute, fully produced performances 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 join together and support one another.

Image courtesy Shakespeare & Company

Image courtesy Shakespeare & Company

Led by Shakespeare & Company’s director of education Kevin Coleman, education artists, technical theater designers and school mentors, the Fall Festival is a celebration rather than a competition. Students are encouraged to delve into Shakespeare’s works, unpack the language and savor the humor, intensity and beauty of the plays. Daily rehearsals focus on students’ personal responses to the text and connection to the language. Students also have the opportunity to develop skills in stage combat, performance aesthetics, dance, technical theater, costuming, stage management, marketing and publicity during the Fall Festival experience.

Image courtesy Shakespeare & Company

Image courtesy Shakespeare & Company

The Fall Festival of Shakespeare was the subject of a two-year study by students from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. In summarizing the research, the students recommended replication and adaptation in every high school in the nation. The festival has inspired long-running similar programs in Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Portland, Oregon; and DePauw University in Indiana. Replications are taking shape in San Diego, California; Toronto, Canada; Long Island, New York; and Portland, Maine. The ethics and aesthetics of the festival have influenced 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 education programs in other Shakespeare companies across the country as well as in Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, India, and South Korea.

Image courtesy Shakespeare & Company

Fall Festival of Shakespeare performance schedule

Thursday, Nov. 15
6:15 p.m. – Lenox Memorial High School, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” directed by Rory Hammond and David Bertoldi
8:30 p.m.Chatham High School, “The Tempest,” directed by Lori Evans and Sara Holt

Image courtesy Shakespeare & Company

Friday, Nov. 16
6:15 p.m. – Lee High School, “As You Like It,” directed by Doug Seldin and Alison Howard
8:30 p.m. – Mount Greylock Regional High School, “Henry V,” directed by Tom Jaeger and Noa Egozi

Image courtesy Shakespeare & Company

Saturday, Nov. 17
1:15 p.m. – Monument Mountain Regional High School, “Romeo and Juliet,” directed by Dana Harrison and Connie Russo
3:30 p.m. – Mount Everett Regional High School, “Much Ado About Nothing,” directed by Caitlin Kraft and Madeleine Rose Maggio
6:15 p.m. – Taconic High School, “Hamlet,” directed by Dara Silverman and Luke Haskell
8:30 p.m. – Springfield Central High School, “A Winter’s Tale,” directed by Lezlie Lee and Jake Merriman

Image courtesy Shakespeare & Company

Sunday, Nov. 18
1:15 p.m. – Berkshire Waldorf High School, “Romeo and Juliet,” directed by Annie Considine and Ellie Bartz
3:30 p.m. – Taconic Hills High School, “Much Ado About Nothing,” directed by Caroline Calkins and Gregory Boover
5 p.m. – The Reverence (closing event)

Tickets per play are $16 for adults and $10 for students. All-festival passes are $80 for adults and $35 for students. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or or call the Shakespeare & Company box office at (413) 637-3353.


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  1. lillybooth says:

    I visit this festival every year and this year is no exception. I was there because I was writing a review for UKessay.com, you can read it if you’re interested, and I must say that this was amazing festival!

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