SHAKE ‘EM UP SHAKESPEARE:
BARD IN THE SCHOOL YARD
“Shake ‘em up Shakespeare: Bard in the School Yard” invigorates, illuminates and educates students as to the vibrancy, power and passion of Shakespeare and other classics. Through a careful blend of interactive, audience participatory performance by high-caliber professional Shakespearean actors and in-school workshops, students strive for excellence through teamwork in a live theatre experience. Using performance techniques in our workshops, we empower educators to improve student literacy and help students to improve in reading and writing, analytical thought and critical thinking. During a “Shake ‘em up Shakespeare!” performance, the emotional energy that lives in the words is visually released by the actors, while crowd participation enlivens an art form that for too long has been seen as static on the page. “Shake ‘em up Shakespeare!” educates, entertains, and unites diverse genders, ages, and experiences. It keeps classical works a living, breathing part of the fabric of our culture and the gateway to learning.
IT’S NOT JUST FOR SHAKESPEARE! Even if your school doesn’t have Shakespeare in it’s curriculum, seeing live classical theatre, performed in a way that stimulates and excites students of all ages, opens them up to learning in cross-curricula. They are taught that literature and poetry of all kinds can move, enthrall and entertain. Our mission is to have students see that literature is not just a bunch of black words on a white page but living, breathing, thought and motion that directly links with their everyday world. Integrative learning at its’ best, it encourages creative thinking in all areas! The student’s minds open, making connections across curricula. Our performances and workshops are a catalyst for motivating all kinds of students to participate and learn. Engage the imagination for a moment and you’ve engaged that student for a lifetime!
“Shake ‘em up Shakespeare: Bard in the School Yard” is a unique learning opportunity in which area students will discover new talents and strengths through participation in a live theatre experience. Interactive and participatory shows, workshops and student performances for ALL ages, your students will learn:
Concentration and Focus
Sense of accomplishment
Host “Shake ‘em up Shakespeare: Bard in the School Yard” and help us with our mission to put the “shake” back in Shakespeare (and other classical works) in your area! Enclosed is information on the various options to make classical text come alive for students of all ages! We meet NH State Curriculum Frameworks for the Arts goal: “Students will recognize exemplary works of art from a variety of historical periods and cultures, as well as understand historical development within and among the arts disciplines.”
WE HELP STUDENTS OF ALL AGES MAKE THE LEAP “FROM THE PAGE TO THE STAGE” AND GUARANTEE THAT “THIS AIN’T YOUR MOMMA’S SHAKESPEARE!” *
*(Our sincerest apologies to grammarians everywhere!)
WHAT WE OFFER
A visit from “Shake ‘em up Shakespeare: Bard in the School Yard” can contain any or all of the following:
Assembly Shows: The foundation of all of our work, Shake em up Shakespeare’s high-energy assembly shows are presented by a team of two professional performers. Student audiences range from kindergarten through the university level. A typical 35-50 minute show includes 15-30 classical pieces tailored to fit the ages and interests of the audience. The pieces, memorized and performed theatrically, are found in popular textbooks and anthologies. Our shows change each year and the current year show list is sent out in advance of the visit. Special requests are honored when possible.
Post Performance “Talk Back” Sessions: After a performance, students stay seated in the audience for an informal Q & A session with the performers. Topics discussed are the how and why of the production, history of the writer and background on the pieces performed. Improvisation, interactive exercises and demonstrations highlight the discussion. As well, the option exists to have the talk back focus on key points that relate to classroom work, with the teachers having been sent “Talking Points” and the students having prepared questions ahead of time.
In School Residencies: Our In-school Residency uses classical Shakespearean and other classical acting techniques and approaches to help your students put on their own classical works show.
Classroom Follow-ups: Our performers are available to visit individual classrooms to work directly with smaller groups. Using the assembly show as a springboard, we will demonstrate how the students can use performance techniques to experience classical literature more fully.
Teacher Workshops: Bard in the School Yard conducts workshops that introduce educators to the basics of using performance as a pathway to understanding, experiencing, and appreciating Shakespeare and other classics.
In School Residency: Your students put on the show! Like our performances, our residencies are designed to help each school achieve the goals of its curriculum. We develop each residency to fit the educational philosophy of the school. For greater effectiveness, we consult with teachers and administrators before visiting a school. This preparation allows us to set up a structure that teachers can use year after year. Our goal is to introduce the concept of performance as a mechanism for increasing the students' appreciation and understanding of classical texts—to viscerally experience them in an unforgettable fashion.
How an In School Residency works: The In-school Residency usually involves a large number of students whose goal will be to produce their own performance at the end of the residency. Typically, the team spends a week with the selected students in controlled workshops designed to prepare them for the Friday extravaganza. Purchasing an In-school residency entitles the school to up to five "functions" each day conducted by the team. A "function" is defined as a performance, a student workshop, or a teacher workshop. The nature of each residency depends on the number of students involved, the grade levels involved, and the scheduling needs and goals of each individual school.
A Typical Residency Scenario: Performers will perform 1, 2, or 3 shows on Monday morning for the entire student body. The rest of the week is spent in small workshop sessions. Perhaps one afternoon, teachers stay after school for a special teacher workshop. On Friday all interested students participate in a show in which they perform individually and in groups. This final Shakespearean extravaganza might take place in the afternoon as an in-school assembly or at night as a special presentation. The Performers are the emcees for this final event, performing a few pieces themselves and helping to make the show a success. Some schools choose to postpone this final show preferring a full week of classroom workshops. These schools typically conduct their own performance showcases after we have gone.
K-3 Grades: Performers enter the classrooms after the large assembly performance at the beginning of the week. The follow-up session will begin with a discussion of what the kids liked about the show. Actor/Educators introduce kids to 3 or 4 performance points and use student volunteers to help demonstrate how to conduct themselves in front of an audience. They will introduce one, two, or three pieces to the kids, which they will then perform as a group. “Shake ‘em Up” personnel will end the session with summary and closure and explain how the School assembly will be run, handing copies of the pieces performed during the session to the teacher on the way out. The teacher is asked to practice these pieces with the kids throughout the week. If there is time, the Actor/Educators will visit these classes a second time for 10 to 15 minutes to offer words of explanation and encouragement.
FIRST VISIT - Begins as with the K-3 grades. We will cover more performance points, though, and go into much greater detail over stage conduct. We will also demonstrate how a sonnet piece or poem can be turned into a theatrical script for performance. (The term "to script" means to divide the lines of a poem into speaking parts.) Students are then asked to divide into their pre-assigned performance teams. The Actor/Educators will circulate, offering advice when needed as the students divide up the parts, scripting the poems for certain groups, if necessary. By the end of this first session, many of these performance teams will be on their feet "walking through" the pieces.
SECOND VISIT - Students begin in their performance teams, on their feet as they practice performing their pieces. We again offer advice and directorial notes where needed. The last half of this second visit is spent watching each team, one at a time, perform in front of the class. We offer each team director's notes and ideas as the other class members watch and offer advice.
WHAT OTHERS ARE SAYING ABOUT OUR WORKSHOPS:
Since 1993, our workshops have reached thousands of kids and adults across the U.S. and Canada. Here’s what people are saying about our teaching methods:
“I reached into myself and used every part of myself. Through doing this, I know I want to be an actress when I grow up!”—
Devon, age 13, Campton, NH
“The kids tell me that Acting Shakespeare is their absolute favorite class!”--
Trevor, professional Stage Manager, St. Louis, MO
“You challenged us, inspired us and we had a blast! I used to think that I wanted to stay backstage. Now I know that I want to act for the rest of my life!”—
Shelby, age 14, Sonora, CA
“Your work with the young actors brought our program to a whole new level and you could really see the work up on the stage.”
Graham S. Green, Artistic Director, Murphys Creek Theatre, CA
“Your workshops energized and electrified our school. The kids will remember this forever!”—
Head Librarian, E. Hartford Middle School, CT
“Stage Combat was fun and exciting. It was cool to see the adult actors….and the next day they’re teaching us how to do it, too!”
Gerrett, age 12, Ashland, OR
“Working beside (and learning from) people who are making their living in the entertainment industry is a great example for us. We see that we can do this, too…
they give us the tools and confidence necessary to start that journey.”
Zoey, age 16, Toronto, CAN
“I’m so glad I took these classes! They are the best ever!”
Riley, age 9, Thornton, NH
“My son was so shy last year that he cried when called on in class. After your workshops, he’s a whole new child…he jumps up on stage and says
that he’s going to be an actor someday. Even if he isn’t, he’s gained confidence that he never had before.”
Cheryl, Medfield, MA
We’re putting the ‘shake” back in Shakespeare all across America—one school at a time!
For more info on “Shake ‘Em Up Shakespeare: Bard in the School Yard” please email us at