Our Shakespeare In Schools initiative reaches thousands of ethnically diverse students in numerous schools in all five boroughs of New York City. These students have had little or no exposure to arts in education, and some of the teachers who are expected to teach them Shakespeare have barely studied him themselves. In New York City schools, most young people only read Shakespeare, and, especially if English is not their first language, Shakespeare's vast vocabulary is often beyond the initial grasp of most children the Shakespeare Society serves. Bringing Shakespeare into the body presents the right amount of challenge for young people, and helps to bring the plays and poetry to life in their hearts. Recognizing that research has proven that exposure to and participation in the arts has a powerful and positive effect on educational achievement and self-esteem, the Shakespeare Society sends classically-trained professional actors and teaching artists into public school classrooms.
Our actors draw young people into the world of Shakespeare through movement, speech and performance. Teaching through performance helps students to internalize the language and meaning of the plays and to have fun! This program also helps the wonderful teachers with whom we work to deepen their own understanding of Shakespeare, to develop a repertory of methods for helping their students to connect with Shakespeare substantively, and to increase the confidence with which they teach Shakespeare when our actors are not there. Residencies range from one to ten sessions, and each one is the result of a customized, hands-on process of development and collaboration with teachers.
In addition, the teachers with whom we collaborate may submit a written proposal at any time during the school year to request funds for specific classroom needs relating to Shakespeare. In the past, these grants have provided textbooks, DVDs, and tickets to Shakespeare productions.
This is now a program of Red Bull Theater. For more information, visit here.