Hundreds of teenagers from ten different high schools will take to the stage at Shakespeare & Company, beginning November 16th, for the 29th Fall Festival of Shakespeare. An annual tradition, the Fall Festival is the culmination of the nationally recognized program that places Shakespeare & Company Education Artists in ten local and regional schools, where they lead students in a nine-week exploration of creative thinking, teamwork and Shakespeare.
“While the Fall Festival of Shakespeare has become a celebrated tradition for the 10 area schools and for Shakespeare & Company, its influence has been spreading across the country in adaptations from Portland Maine to Portland Oregon,” said Director of Education Kevin G. Coleman. “The Festival formula is simple: give students the tools and support necessary to tackle Shakespeare’s plays the way he himself intended, as plays to be publicly performed, full blown and out loud. That’s when they come alive. That’s when they make the profound difference to the students, challenging them to become more alive themselves.”
Led by Coleman and the Shakespeare & Company Education Artists 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 transcendent beauty of Shakespeare’s 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 theatre, costuming, stage management, marketing, and publicity during their Fall Festival experience.
“I have loved Fall Festival ever since I saw my first show in second grade,” said Eliza, a 2016 Senior from Mount Everett. “This program is inclusive, educational, fun, and so, so important to so many people. I am so grateful to have been a part of this experience for the past years.”
The ten schools participating in the 2017 Fall Festival of Shakespeare include Berkshire Waldorf High School, Chatham High School (New York), Lee High School, Lenox Memorial High School, Monument Mountain Regional High School, Mount Everett Regional High School, Mount Greylock Regional High School, Springfield Central High School, Taconic High School, and Taconic Hills High School (New York). Students from all ten schools will gather in a spirit of celebration to perform their plays for the public in a four-day festival at the Tina Packer Playhouse from Thursday, November 16 through Sunday, November 19.
“The Fall Festival is important to me because I have learned so much from it,” said a 2017 Fall Festival Student. “I’ve met so many wonderful, intelligent, kind human beings, and from them I have learned not only to love and respect theater and Shakespeare, but about my own capabilities as a person and as a performer. Fall festival has made me a more confident person.”
Tickets are $16 for Adults and $10 for students, and passes for the Festival are $80 for Adults and $35 for Students. Tickets are now on sale abd are available online at http://www.shakespeare.org, or by calling the Shakespeare & Company Box Office at (413) 637-3353. To observe a performance or to arrange interviews, please contact Molly Clancy, Publicity Director by phone at (413) 637-1199, ext. 145, or by email Mclancy@shakespeare.org.
This program is supported in part by: Deborah and Bill Ryan, Jeffrey Konowitch and Wendy Laurin; the National Endowment for the Arts; the Massachusetts Cultural Council; the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation; the Great Barrington, Lee, Lenox, New Marlborough, Sheffield, Springfield, Stockbridge, Tyringham, and West Stockbridge Cultural Councils – Local agencies supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency; and a coalition of local businesses, families, and individuals.
Fall Festival of Shakespeare Performance Schedule:
Thursday, November 16:
6:15pm – Lenox High School’s Macbeth Directed by Rory Hammond and David Bertoldi
8:30pm – Chatham High School’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Directed by Lori Evans and Sarah Holt November 17
Friday, November 17
6:15pm – Mt Everett Regional High School’s Romeo and Juliet Directed by Caitlin Kraft and Madeleine Maggio
8:30pm – Mount Greylock Regional High School’s Much Ado About Nothing Directed by Tom Jaeger and Grace Lazarz
Saturday, November 18
1:30pm – Monument Mountain Regional High School’s Hamlet Directed by Dana Harrison and Sean Kazarian
3:30pm – Berkshire Waldorf High School’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Directed by Annie Considine and Luke Haskell
6:15pm – Taconic High School’s Pericles Directed by Dara Silverman and Sarah Kate Anderson
8:30pm – Springfield Central High School’s As You Like It Directed by Lezlie Lee and Ellie Bartz
Sunday, November 19
1:30pm – Lee High School’s Julius Ceasar Directed by Douglas Seldin and Alison Howard
3:30pm – Taconic Hills High School’s As You Like It Directed by Caroline Calkins and Greg Boover
About Shakespeare & Company
Located in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, Shakespeare & Company is one of the largest Shakespeare Festivals in the country. Founded in 1978, the organization attracts over 30,000 patrons annually. The Company is also home to Shakespeare & Company’s internationally renowned Center for Actor Training and nationally renowned and award-winning Education Program. More information is available at http://www.shakespeare.org.