CONTEST- Win Tickets to “Shakespeare’s Globe on Screen: Macbeth” in Toronto!

March 26, 2015 at 9:00 am | Posted in Friends of SIA, Toronto Happenings | Leave a comment
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Back by popular demand, our friends at Bloor Hot Docs Cinema are screening Shakespeare’s Globe on Screen: Macbeth for one day only!

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We are giving away a pair of tickets to the Toronto screening on March 28, 2015 at 11:30AM! To enter, all you have to do is send an e-mail to jenny@shakespeareinaction.org with your name and contact information, and tell us who your favorite Macbeth character is!

Contest closes at 11:59PM on March 26, so be sure to enter now!

Shakespeare Was a Muggle

March 17, 2015 at 11:50 am | Posted in Shakespeare at the Movies, Shakespeare In Culture | Leave a comment
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J.K. Rowling is one of the bestselling British authors of all time. Her books are internationally beloved. However, there is another author from England who is equally renowned. That writer is none other than William Shakespeare himself. There may be few apparent connections between the magical world that Harry Potter and his friends live in and Hamlet’s Denmark, Shylock’s Venice, or any of the other characters and settings in Shakespeare’s works. Yet, there is something about the two author’s works that inspire crossovers, if not with plots then with people. The Harry Potter franchise has had some of the world’s best Shakespearian actors and actresses take on the roles of muggles and wizards alike.

Here is a list of some Shakespearian Actors and their connections to Harry Potter:

Kenneth Branagh – Professor Gilderoy Lockhart

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Professor Lockhart may not be the most memorable character from the Harry Potter franchise, but when portrayed by Shakespearian heavyweight Kenneth Branagh on screen, it is difficult not to pay attention. Away from Harry Potter, Branagh is known for his abilities to bring the Bard to the big screen. His film adaptations include Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Hamlet, and Love’s Labour’s Lost. He has also appeared onscreen as Iago in Oliver Parker’s Othello. Aside from his films, Branagh has been connected to countless stage productions.

Emma Thompson – Professor Sybill Trelawney

sybill-trelawney emma-thompson

The former wife of Branagh, Thomson has acted in Shakespeare adaptations on and off the screen. She appeared alongside Branagh in Henry V before taking on a lead role in his Much Ado About Nothing. She has also been involved in several stage productions of Shakespeare’s works throughout her acting career. Though her portrayal of sharp-tongued Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing may make her unrecognizable as the helter-skelter Professor Trelawney, Thompson’s acting can be enjoyed in whatever project she’s involved with.

Alan Rickman – Professor Severus Snape

severus-snapealan-rickman

Though often difficult to love in his role as Professor Snape, Alan Rickman is capable of much more than the monotone portions master. He is a former member of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and his formal training has involved him in many Shakespearian productions. Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, and Antony and Cleopatra are only a few of the many projects that Rickman has participated in throughout his acting career.

Maggie Smith – Professor Minerva McGonagall

minerva-mcgonagall maggie-smith

Maggie Smith has had a long acting career spanning across the globe from the London stage to Stratford, Ontario. Her work with the Stratford Festival landed her roles as Lady Macbeth and Cleopatra. She has also starred as Desdemona in the 1965 film adaptation of Othello. At eighty years old, Dame Maggie Smith is still acting and will probably appear on stage again.

Ralph Fiennes – Lord Voldemort

lord-voldemort ralph-fiennes

Another Royal Shakespeare Company alum, Fiennes has taken on roles from Hamlet to the one “who must not be named” himself, Lord Voldemort. Since the mid-eighties, he has played many of the great Shakespearian roles from lovesick Romeo, to aging Prospero. He received a Tony Award for his portrayal of Prince Hamlet on Broadway, and made his debut as a director with his adaptation of Coriolanus. Though his role as Voldemort is finished, Fiennes continues to be heavily involved in Shakespeare productions.

Fiona Shaw – Mrs. Petunia Dursley 

petunia-dursley fiona-shaw

It may not be easy to picture tight-lipped Mrs. Dursley as Richard II, but Fiona Shaw has successfully tackled both roles. She has worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her most memorable appearance in a Shakespearian production was in her role as Richard the II in 1997 gender bending rendition of the play. She remains one of the top classical actresses working today.

Win Tickets to the 4th annual Shakespeare Challenge!

March 13, 2015 at 11:18 am | Posted in Fundraisers, Shakespeare Challenge, Toronto Happenings | Leave a comment
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Shakespeare in Action is holding the 4th annual Shakespeare Challenge fundraising gala on March 25, 2015 at The Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, and we want you to join us!

V - Shakespeare in Action - Shakespeare Challenge - 2013 - Trinculo is Reeling Ripe

The Cast of The Tempest from the 2013 Shakespeare Challenge

For the past three years, community members from the corporate sector fearlessly took to the stage in productions of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, and Twelfth Night to raise funds for Shakespeare In Action’s educational programming. Their generosity has helped to foster literacy, enhance creativity and promote speech arts for youth at risk in Toronto’s priority neighborhoods.

This year, The Challenge will feature twelve community members coming together to unleash their inner Shakespeare under the direction of Shakespeare in Action’s renowned Artistic Director Michael Kelly. Our Challenge Champions will perform an abridged version of The Comedy of Errors. In a race against time, these brave souls have rehearsed one night a week for eight weeks to prepare and present this memorable production. That’s the Shakespeare Challenge!

We are giving away a pair of tickets to the Shakespeare Challenge, where guests will be treated to a performance of The Comedy of Errors, food and drink, and a live and silent auction with fabulous packages, including a trip for 2 to Montreal to attend a Just For Laughs event, wine tasting tours, golfing passestheatre tickets, and many more! Most importantly, all funds raised will go towards Shakespeare in Action’s educational programming, giving access to the arts to students in priority neighbourhoods across Toronto!

HOW TO ENTER:

To enter, all you have to do is send an e-mail to jenny@shakespeareinaction.org with your name and contact information, and tell me who your favourite character from The Comedy of Errors is!

Contest closes at 11:59PM on Friday, March 20, 2015. Winner will be selected at random and contacted via phone or email. 

Good luck to everyone who enters!

WANTED- Volunteer Piano Player and Auctioneer for the Shakespeare Challenge Fundraising Gala!

March 11, 2015 at 11:40 am | Posted in Shakespeare Challenge, Toronto Happenings | Leave a comment
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O - Shakespeare in Action - Shakespeare Challenge - 2013 - The Island is Full of Noises

Shakespeare in Action is looking for a volunteer piano player and a volunteer auctioneer for the 4th annual Shakespeare Challenge fundraising gala on March 25, 2015. The event will take place at The Arts and Letters Club of Toronto, located at 14 Elm Street, near Yonge and Dundas.

We are looking for an individual to play pleasant and lively music to entertain guests during the reception. The event begins at 7:00PM, and will be over by 10:30 at the latest, with a break in the middle to enjoy the performance and live auction. We can offer a small stipend for the evening, but this will be a volunteer position.

Our volunteer auctioneer will be responsible for running the live auction that will take place right after the show has finished. The live auction should last for about 20 minutes total, and will include under 10 packages. You will be invited to join us beforehand to enjoy the show, as well as the reception right after the live auction has been completed.

For more information on the Shakespeare Challenge, please visit: http://www.shakespeareinaction.org/event/the-shakespeare-challenge/

If you are interested in volunteering for the evening with us, please contact Michael Kelly at info@shakespeareinaction.org, or (416) 703-4881.

Shakespeare Young Company for Teens- Register by March 20 for the Early Bard discount!

March 9, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Posted in Educational Programming, Shakespeare Summer Camps, Toronto Happenings | Leave a comment
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The Shakespeare Young Company for Teens is a now a 4-week intensive training program in stage and film performance. Professional actors and directors lead workshops in theatre and film techniques. No drama or performance experience is required. Participants rehearse and perform one of Shakespeare’s more challenging plays. Teens are encouraged to develop their own interpretations of Shakespeare’s works to create and showcase a multi-media performance.

INFO:

  • Ages: 13-17
  • Dates: Weekdays, Monday, June 29 – Friday, July 24, 2015. No camp on Canada Day.
  • Location: Shakespeare in Action, 385 Roxton Road, Toronto
  • Focus Play: TBA
  • Work with a professional actor
  • Act, sing, improvise, design sets and costumes
  • Build confidence
  • Make new friends
  • Step into the spotlight!

DAILY SCHEDULE:

9:00 – 9:15 – Welcome and warm-up
9:15 – 10:15 – Voice and movement work
10:15 – 10:30 – Break & snack
10:30 – 11:30 – Choral, text, and scene work
11:30 – 12:15 – Lunch
12:15 – 1:45 – Play development and rehearsal
1:45 – 2:00 – Break & snack
2:00 – 4:00 – Set, costume, and prop design
4:00 – Campers head home

COST:

$900 per camper (plus Eventbrite fees)

Early Bard Deadline: Friday, March 20, 2015 (Enter the promo code “EarlyBard” and save 10%)

Registering Siblings? Use the promo code “EarlyBardFamily.” After March 20, use “FamilyBard.”

For more information, or to register, please visit out Shakespeare Young Company for Teens page!

Shakespeare Summer Camp for Kids- EarlyBard registration deadline is March 20!

March 6, 2015 at 11:53 am | Posted in Educational Programming, Shakespeare Summer Camps, Toronto Happenings | Leave a comment
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As we approach the March Break, many of us will start to plan what our Shakespeare Kids will be doing during the even longer Summer Break! Shakespeare in Action is once again offering a Shakespeare Summer Camp for Kids in Toronto, and registration is open!

INFO

  • Ages: 7-12
  • Dates: Weekdays, Monday, June 29 – Friday, July 10, 2015. No camp on Canada Day.
  • Location: Shakespeare in Action, 385 Roxton Road, Toronto
  • Focus Play: TBA
  • Work with a professional actor
  • Act, sing, improvise, design sets and costumes
  • Build confidence
  • Make new friends
  • Step into the spotlight!

DAILY SCHEDULE:

9:00 – 9:15 – Welcome and warm-up
9:15 – 10:15 – Voice and movement work
10:15 – 10:30 – Break & snack
10:30 – 11:30 – Choral, text, and scene work
11:30 – 12:15 – Lunch
12:15 – 1:45 – Play development and rehearsal
1:45 – 2:00 – Break & snack
2:00 – 4:00 – Set, costume, and prop design
4:00 – Campers head home

COST:

$500 per child (plus Eventbrite fees)

Early Bard Deadline: Friday, March 20, 2015 (Enter the promo code “EarlyBard” and save 10%)

Registering Siblings? Use the promo code “EarlyBardFamily.” After March 20, use “FamilyBard.”

For more information, and to register, please visit out Shakespeare Summer Camp for Kids page!

Songs for Shakespearience- A fundraiser from our friends at The Shakespearience Group!

March 5, 2015 at 11:47 am | Posted in Shakespeare In Culture | Leave a comment
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Our friends at Shakespearience are having their first annual fundraiser, Songs for Shakespearience!

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The Shakespearience Group is preparing its summer season, and we’d like to expand! We are hoping to perform again at The Flounder Festival, here in Burlington, as well as at another local venue (TBA) and this time we’d like to go big (and not go home!). We’d like to introduce Youth Programming this summer at a local venue, as well as Masterclasses for 16+, and we’re planning on not only adding a few more adult thespians to our troupe, but creating an all-new entirely youth-cast to our production!

That’s right folks! We’re creating a great big Shakespeare family this summer – and we need your help! Promoting these shows, generating props and costumes, paying for rental spaces and production venues is pricey – and being the young company that we are, we need some extra help from our friends and fans!

We’d like you to join us for …

Songs for Shakespearience : A Fundraiser

Date:
Sunday March 8, 2015

Time:
2pm – Mocktails and Silent Song Auction
2:30pm – Curtain

Location:
Orchards Uptown Clubhouse
2025 Appleby Line,
Burlington, Ont.
L7L 7G8

Admission:
PWYC
Suggested Donation $15

What’s Happening?

The Shakespearience Group & Friends will be presenting a Family Friendly Showcase Recital as well as a Silent Song Auction.

What’s a Silent Song Auction you ask?

Well, it’s basically like a regular silent auction only you’ll be bidding on a performer to serenade you (or your loved one) with a song of your choosing (from our songbook) that the performer has never sung before… Which should make for some entertaining performances, and quick thinking! All in the spirit of Original Practices, where Shakespearean actors only received their cue lines and cut parts a day before the show, we’ve cut this timing down to learning a song only an hour before you perform it… Let the improvisation prevail!

The Shakespearience Group will be providing Mocktails, and other non-alcoholic beverages (including specialty coffees) for a small donation. There will be a food/snack table as well, no donation required.

The Shakespearience Group & Friends will be performing 2 full sets of show tunes, classical repertoire, and more with guest performances by:

Miranda MacDonald’s Show Choir
SONUS
and
Welsh Tenor Gwyndaff Jones

The Shakespearience Group & Friends Performers include:

Kelly Baker
Skyla Baker
Sara Black
Tristan Alexander Emmanuel
Jeff Fox
Miranda MacDonald
Marlene Matos-Jones
Lauren Shepherd

Hosted by our very own Kyle Villeneuve, Songs for Shakespearience should prove to be a wonderful afternoon for the entire family! Help Shakespearience make a big splash in Burlintgon this Summer!

RSVP to the event here!

Farewell February; Hello March!

March 2, 2015 at 12:15 pm | Posted in Educational Programming, Fundraisers, Library Club, Shakespeare Summer Camps, Sonnets By Kids | Leave a comment
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February was a short but busy month for us at Shakespeare in Action, as it marked our 5th annual Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day fundraiser!

Sonnet Kids – Dushane, Ivy, Nicholas, Saskia, and Thomas – all began their journeys in different places – our Summer Camp for Kids and the TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club sessions at Brookbanks, Highland Creek, Main Street, and St. Jamestown public libraries.

We spent time together unpacking sonnets 18, 29, 105, and 116 – discovering rhyme scheme, sorting out characters’ thoughts and feelings, and using the hundred-odd words that the kids recognized to decode the half dozen words that they had never seen before. On Valentine’s Day, they were ready to deliver sonnet-grams to unsuspecting recipients in Canada and the US!

Thank you: To all the parents and guardians for their time and encouragement; to CBC Metro Morning for showcasing this program and helping us reach a new audience; to Pizzaville (College and Roxton), Metro (College and Shaw), and our favourite bookstore, Doug Miller Books (now at 650 Bloor Street West!) for adding the gift of great food and reads to our festivities; and to everyone who purchased a sonnet for a loved one, in support of literacy and live theatre!

A warm thank-you to all the supporters of Sonnets by Kids for Valentine's Day!

A warm thank-you to everyone who supported Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day!

Sonnet Buddy, Kyle and Sonnet Kid, Thomas, prepare for one of the first calls!

Sonnet Buddy, Kyle and Sonnet Kid, Thomas, prepare for one of the first calls!

Ivy delivers a sonnet, while Sonnet Buddy, Anna, looks on.

Ivy delivers a sonnet, while Sonnet Buddy, Anna, looks on.

Sonnet Buddy, Asha, lends a hand as Nicholas signs off on a sonnet.

Sonnet Buddy, Asha, lends a hand as Nicholas signs off on a sonnet.

It's time to give Shakespeare a makeover...or shall we say a Shakeover?!  Looks like the Bard is ready for "the winter of our discontent."

It’s time to give Shakespeare a makeover…or shall we say a Shakeover?! Looks like the Bard is ready for “the winter of our discontent.”

Sonnet Kid, Dushane, with Sonnet Buddy, Jenny!

Sonnet Kid, Dushane, with Sonnet Buddy, Jenny!

Sonnet Kid, Saskia, and Sonnet Buddy, Rebecca smile for the camera.

Sonnet Kid, Saskia, and Sonnet Buddy, Rebecca! And, wait, who’s that in the middle?

Our amazing Sonnet Kids! L-R: Saskia, Nicholas, Thomas, Ivy, and Dushane.

Our amazing Sonnet Kids! L-R: Saskia, Nicholas, Thomas, Ivy, and Dushane.

With the Sonnet Buddies! Back Row, L-R: Rebecca, Asha, Kyle, Anna, and Jenny!

With the Sonnet Buddies! Back Row, L-R: Rebecca, Asha, Kyle, Anna, and Jenny!

8-year-old Ivy's translation of Sonnet 116

8-year-old Ivy’s translation of Sonnet 116

Shakespeare at the Movies- The Oscars 2015

February 19, 2015 at 1:09 pm | Posted in Shakespeare at the Movies | Leave a comment
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On Sunday night, Hollywood will celebrate and present the 87th Academy Awards. The nominees this year have given some of the best performances of their careers, but today I want to focus on their accomplishments as Shakespearean actors! Find out which of the acting nominees have Shakespeare included in their bodies of work below!

michael-keaton-birdman Michael Keaton (Actor in a Leading Role, Birdman)

Appeared in:

  • Much Ado About Nothing (1993) as Dogberry

eddie-redmayne-the-theory-of-everythingEddie Redmayne (Actor in a Leading Role, The Theory of Everything)

Appeared in:

  • Twelfth Night (2002, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre) as Viola
  • Richard III (2011, Donmar Warehouse) as Richard III

 benedict-cumberbatch-the-imitation-gameBenedict Cumberbatch (Actor in a Leading Role, The Imitation Game)

Appeared in:

  • A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2001, Open Air Theatre) as Demetrius
  • Love’s labour’s Lost (2001, Open Air Theatre) as King of Navarre
  • Romeo and Juliet (2002, Open Air Theatre) as Benvolio
  • As You Like It (2002, Open Air Theatre) as Orlando
  • The Hollow Crown- Richard III (2016, TV mini-series) as Richard III
  • The Hollow Crown- Henry VI Park 2 (2016, TV mini-series) as Richard III

marion-cotillard-two-days-one-nightMarion Cotillard (Actress in a Leading Role, Two Days, One Night)

Appearing in:

  • Macbeth (2015) as Lady Macbeth

 eddie-redmayne-the-theory-of-everythingFelicity Jones (Actress in a Leading Role, The Theory of Everything)

Appeared in:

  • The Tempest (2010) as Miranda

ethan-hawke-boyhood

Ethan Hawke (Actor in a Supporting Role, Boyhood)

Appeared in:

  • Hamlet (2000) as Hamlet
  • Henry IV (2004, Lincoln Center Theater) as Hotspur
  • The Winter’s Tale (2009 Stage Production)
  • Macbeth (2013, Lincoln Center Theater) as Macbeth

meryl-streep-into-the-woodsMeryl Streep (Actress in a Supporting Role, Into the Woods)

Appeared in:

  • The Taming of the Shrew (1978, Shakespeare in the Park) as Katherine
  • Romeo and Juliet (2012, Shakespeare in the Park Staged Reading) as Juliet

neil-patrick-harris-romeo*BONUS- Neil Patrick Harris (The host this year!)

Appeared in:

  • Romeo and Juliet (1998, Old Globe Theatre) as Romeo

Did I miss someone? Which of these roles is your favorite? Who do you think will walk away a winner on Sunday? Leave a comment and let us know!

Top 5 “Romantic” (Meaning Crazy) Moments from William Shakespeare

February 13, 2015 at 12:07 pm | Posted in Shakespeare's Plays | Leave a comment
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William Shakespeare has been lauded with creating the most beautiful romantic moments of all time. Yet, as much as William loves marriage and romance, it seems most of his depictions of romance are also his depictions of total insanity. Here for this Valentine’s Day, here are Shakespeare’s most “romantic” moments; and by ‘romantic’, I mean delusional and very twisted.

5) Twelfth Night, Malvolio Dresses Crazy For Love (Act 3, Scene 4)
While Shakespeare may have fooled us into thinking it is the romance between Viola and Cesario that is the height of the play, it is clearly Malvolio who shows us the proper levels of passion for Valentine’s Day. When Maria sends him a letter pretending to be Olivia, Malvolio will do anything to impress her, including reading strange quotations from said letter and humiliating himself with a ridiculous outfit, crossed garters and yellow stockings. Love literally makes you crazy, and Malvolio is proof.

4) Macbeth, Lady MacBeth Councils her Husband Post-Murder (Act 2, Scene 2)

When you’ve got some stresses going on there’s no one better to help calm you down than your one and only. One of the possibly biggest stresses could come from your plan to murder the King in order to take over the throne, and thank god Macbeth has Lady Macbeth to help calm him down after this task. Essentially, Lady Macbeth just points out all the things he did wrong, and how she would’ve done this a lot better (and I don’t doubt that), but at the end, when he is feeling that guilt as he looks at his bloody hands, Lady Macbeth cleans them off for him. That’s probably the sweetest moment between the two… all in the middle of an insane murder plot.

3) Hamlet, Hamlet Calls Ophelia Many Things (Act 3, Scene 1)

Hamlet in general just seems like such a charmer; there’s nothing like existentialism to make a man seem attractive. Even more attractive is when, having done absolutely nothing wrong, you get called awful names. I think this is called “playing hard to get”. Ophelia runs into Hamlet and is not just insulted by Hamlet, but is insulted among all womankind. Not cool, Hamlet. And when Ophelia ends up throwing herself in a river, Hamlet acts all sad and that he loved her all along? Stop playing those games, Hamlet. To be or not to be a jerk, that is the question.

2) Othello, Othello and Desdemona’s Last Moment Together (Act 5, Scene 2)

Nothing like death to bring loved ones together, especially in Shakespeare. Does it count if death is being brought on by your loved one? By Shakespeare’s standards, essentially it’s the best you can do! And in the most romantic locations of all, one’s own marriage bed. Othello kisses his wife before attempting to smother her, and this death scene is ridden with romantic newlywed imagery. Thanks Shakespeare, that’s not creepy at all.

1) Romeo and Juliet, Balcony Scene (Act 2, Scene 1)
Well, what did you expect would be #1? This scene is the most talked about famous romance scene in Shakespeare, and it is pretty romantic to have your secret lover come to you in the middle of the night to profess his love to you… right? Some would say that’s trespassing, but we love that kind of stuff. Romeo and Juliet, however, are probably the most unstable of all of Shakespeare’s couples. First of all, they are 14, and probably going through many hormonal changes that would probably affect their decision making. Only knowing each other three days in the total time of the play, they end up dying for each other pretty much by accident. They literally could’ve waited an hour to see if the other were really dead and then made a rational decision on what to do next, but no, impromptu sacrifice is what Shakespeare encourages. Thanks Shakespeare for presenting the ultimate romance as ultimate insanity.

Don’t follow suit on your Valentine’s Day everyone.

By Yamini Coen

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