The 2014 cast of Twelfth Night Photo Credit: Jim Goad
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 subsidized ticket program. Their generosity has helped to foster literacy, enhance creativity and promote speech arts for youth at risk in Toronto’s priority neighborhoods.
This year, we are looking for a group of courageous community members to volunteer their time to rehearse and perform an abridged version of one of Shakespeare’s most beloved tales of mistaken identity, The Comedy of Errors, at the Historic Arts and Letters Club of Toronto.
Upon registration, each champion will make a tax deductible deposit of $100.00, and will commit to attending scheduled rehearsals, selling a minimum of 8 tickets to the final performance on March 25, 2015.
To register, click on the Register Now button below! The deadline to register to December 19, 2014.
Participants must be at least 18 years old.
Rehearsals for the Shakespeare Challenge will take place on Tuesday nights from 6:30- 9:30PM on the following dates:
January 20, 2015
January 27, 2015
February 3, 2015
February 10, 2015
February 24, 2015
March 3, 2015
March 10, 2015
March 17, 2015
March 24, 2014 (Dress Rehearsal)
March 25, 2014 (Final Show)
Rehearsal space TBD
If you would like for information about joining the Shakespeare Challenge 2015, or would like to find out how else you can get involved, please visit the Shakespeare Challenge page, or send us an e-mail!
On October 27, 2014, voters from across Ontario will head to the polls to elect Mayors, Councillors, and Trustees. We have decided to have our own Shakespeare-themed election! Four candidates from Shakespeare’s plays are vying for your vote in the great Shakespeare election! Here are the profiles of the candidates:
Relevant experience: Ruled as the Queen of Egypt
Thoughts on transparency:
Cleopatra certainly has a history of hiding the truth, if only to protect her own interests and assets. CLEOPATRA This is the brief of money, plate, and jewels I am possessed of. ’Tis exactly valued, Not petty things admitted. Where’s Seleucus?
Enter SELEUCUS SELEUCUS Here, madam. CLEOPATRA This is my treasurer. Let him speak, my lord, Upon his peril, that I have reserved To myself nothing.—Speak the truth, Seleucus. SELEUCUS Madam, I had rather seal my lips Than to my peril speak that which is not. CLEOPATRA What have I kept back? SELEUCUS Enough to purchase what you have made known. CAESAR Nay, blush not, Cleopatra. I approve Your wisdom in the deed.
Thoughts on the environment:
Cleopatra really only loves the earth as long as Antony is in it. CLEOPATRANoblest of men, woo’t die? Hast thou no care of me? Shall I abide In this dull world, which in thy absence is No better than a sty? O see, my women, The crown o’ th’ earth doth melt. My lord!
Thoughts on income and wealth: Cleopatra is obviously wealthy, but she seems to be generous with all of her riches. CLEOPATRA (to SCARUS ) I’ll give thee, friend, An armor all of gold. It was a king’s.
CLEOPATRA(giving money) There’s gold for thee. Thou must not take my former sharpness ill. I will employ thee back again; I find thee Most fit for business. Go make thee ready; Our letters are prepared.
Why it might not work: Death due to a snake bite
Name: Henry IV
Relevant experience: Ruled as King of England
Thoughts on transparency: Everyone around King Henry IV was deceiving and secretly plotting against each other, and the King himself did not rise to the throne under the most noble circumstances, so he may be willing to call someone out on their deception, but he still has his own secrets.
KING You have deceived our trust And made us doff our easy robes of peace To crush our old limbs in ungentle steel. This is not well, my lord; this is not well.
Thoughts on the environment: King Henry IV was very busy defending his kingdom, but he did manage to make note of the damage caused to the field in England by the battles that were happening.
KING No more the thirsty entrance of this soil Shall daub her lips with her own children’s blood. Nor more shall trenching war channel her fields, Nor bruise her flow’rets with the armed hoofs Of hostile paces.
Thoughts on income and wealth: As rich as the King is, he knows that if he is not well, he cannot enjoy the good things that happen to him, and compares it to wealthy people going to a feast with no appetite.
KING She either gives a stomach and no food–Such are the poor, in health—or else a feast And takes away the stomach—such are the rich, That have abundance and enjoy it not.
Why it might not work: Death due to illness
Name: Julius Caesar
Relevant experience: Ruled as Dictator of Rome
Thoughts on transparency: Though Caesar may need to be secretive in his work on the battlefield, he has no problem being honest with his colleagues when he decides to take the day off work.
DECIUS Caesar, all hail! Good morrow, worthy Caesar.
I come to fetch you to the senate house.
CAESAR And you are come in very happy time
To bear my greeting to the senators
And tell them that I will not come today.
“Cannot” is false, and that I dare not, falser.
I will not come today. Tell them so, Decius.
CALPHURNIA Say he is sick.
CAESAR Shall Caesar send a lie?
Have I in conquest stretched mine arm so far
To be afraid to tell graybeards the truth?
Thoughts on the environment: When Antony read Caesar’s will after his death, it was revealed that Caesar (or possibly Antony) left his private gardens and orchards to the people, so Caesar did seem to be a fan of having and maintaining green space!
ANTONY Also, he’s left you all his walkways—in his private gardens and newly planted orchards—on this side of the Tiber River. He’s left them to you and to your heirs forever—public pleasures in which you will be able to stroll and relax. Here was a Caesar! When will there be another like him?
Thoughts on income and wealth: Caesar was born into a noble family, but became an incredibly wealthy man during his time in the army. During his rise to power, Caesar brought many beneficial economic reforms to Rome, which Antony was quick to point out after his death.
ANTONY He hath brought many captives home to Rome
Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill.Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?
When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept.
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.
Why it might not work: Death due to stabbing
Relevant experience: Ruled as King of Scotland
Thoughts on transparency: Macbeth found himself in the middle of a murder plot with his wife, and obviously no one could know about it, or it would ruin his chances of becoming King.
LADY MACBETH Who was it that thus cried? Why, worthy thane,
You do unbend your noble strength to think
So brainsickly of things. Go get some water,
And wash this filthy witness from your hand.
Why did you bring these daggers from the place?
They must lie there. Go carry them and smear
The sleepy grooms with blood.
Thoughts on the environment: During a confrontation with the Weird Sisters, Macbeth makes it clear that he has no problem with them destroying the world, as long as they gave him the answers he wanted.
MACBETH I conjure you by that which you profess–
Howe’er you come to know it—answer me.
Though you untie the winds and let them fight
Against the churches, though the yeasty waves
Confound and swallow navigation up,
Though bladed corn be lodged and trees blown down,
Though castles topple on their warders’ heads,
Though palaces and pyramids do slope
Their heads to their foundations, though the treasure
Of nature’s germens tumble all together,
Even till destruction sicken, answer me
To what I ask you.
Thoughts on income and wealth: Macbeth was originally not thirsty for wealth, but certain outside influences caused changes in him that had negative consequences.
LADY MACBETH Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dressed yourself? Hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely? From this time
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valor
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting “I dare not” wait upon “I would, ”
Like the poor cat i’ th’ adage?
Why it might not work: Death due to Macduff
Now that we have the basic profiles for all of the candidates, it’s time to cast your vote!
Thanks for voting!
Now if you are old enough, make sure to head over to a real polling station and cast your vote today!
Where do you think these candidates would stand on transit issues? Leave a comment and let us know!
Hello dear SIA fans! To show you how thankful we are for all of you this Thanksgiving, we will be running a contest during the long weekend! Thanks to our great friends at DFilms, we have 5 Run of Engagement passes for My Old Lady, starring Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline, and Kristin Scott Thomas!
Directed by famed playwright Israel Horovitz, “My Old Lady tells the story of Mathias Gold (Kevin Kline), a down-and-out New Yorker who travels to Paris to liquidate a huge and valuable apartment he has inherited from his estranged father. When he reaches his apartment in Paris he finds Mathilde Girard (Maggie Smith), a refined old lady living in the apartment with her daughter, Chloe (Jane Birkin). He then discovers the romantic history between Mathilde and his father, a romance that lasted over half a century.”
To enter for your chance to win, just fill out the form below!
This contest is now CLOSED. Congratulations to all the winners!
*This contest is open to all residents of Ontario who are at least 18 years of age. Entries can be submitted until 11:59PM EST on Monday, October 13, 2014. Winners will be randomly selected and contacted via e-mail or phone to confirm mailing information.
This is a FREE readers’ theatre program for children ages 7-12.
Witches, ghosts, potions, magic, and humour!
Led by professional actors and educators, kids explore plays like Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Tempest, Comedy of Errors, and Henry IVth. They read aloud, play drama games, get a head start on high school, and make friends with other Shakespeare fans.
The program runs for 6 Saturdays at 10 Toronto Public Library branches. The Spring session starts Saturday, April 5th. Register early at participating branches. Please see below!
Select and purchase your favourite Shakespeare Sonnet – 18, 24, 29, or 116. (Only $25 CDN)
On Valentine’s Day, between 4:30pm and 6:30pm EST, a talented and charming Shakespeare Kid will call your lucky Valentine and recite the sonnet with a heart full of love!
A Shakespeare Kid will also sign and mail a personalized copy of the sonnet for your Valentine!
SONNETS BY KIDS are available in Canada, the US, and the UK until Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 5pm EST, while quantities last.
Shakespeare in Action is a charitable not-for-profit organization, dedicated to introducing young people to the magic of Shakespeare, language and live theatre. All proceeds support our educational programs throughout the GTA!
– Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day 2011 – Photo: Shakespeare in Action
– Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day 2012 – Photo: Shakespeare in Action
– Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day 2013 – Photo: Shakespeare in Action
For more information, or to purchase a sonnet for your loved one, click here!
Today, the SIA team spent a better portion of the day gathered at the meeting table. For what, you say? Why, stuffing envelopes of course!
We are excited to announce that our popular interactive touring program, Shakespeare Alive will be returning this Spring! The tour will start on March 31, and run until April 11. We are visiting schools across Toronto and the GTA, so make sure to book your school now!
Rosemary is focused on getting through her pile of flyers!
The wall between me and Rosemary is growing by the minute! And we weren’t even half finished at this point!
The date is January 21, 2014, and it seemed as if this day took forever to come…
It all started last Monday in my schools’ drama class, as we were all getting excited for the upcoming unit. Our teacher told us about this unit at the beginning of the year, but we didn’t want to get too excited. We still had the whole semester in front of us before we could do this, but when last Monday came around, you could see the excitement in all our eyes. I even saw a little excitement in my teacher, although he didn’t want to show it.
We all knew he was excited, because our next unit was Stage Combat. That’s right… Stage Combat! And we weren’t going to learn how to give a fake punch, or pretend to kick someone. No, we were going to be using swords. Our teacher stepped in front of the class the prior Friday, and gave a brief, but exciting announcement.
“Tomorrow, we will be have a guest come in by the name of Simon. Get ready for some sword fightin’.”
We were so excited when Simon came in on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday and taught us so many things, from how to properly defend yourself, to how to “kill” your opponent and make it look believable. For days, we worked in partners for our scene, and they were all very funny scenes. There was one about a couple fighting on if they should watch an action movie or a musical, and there was another about a drug deal gone wrong, and then there was mine, Blockbuster versus Netflix. Each group took the moves taught and mixed them to make incredible fighting scenes.
Now before I finish, I must give a thank you to Shakespeare In Action, because if it wasn’t for them, we wouldn’t have been able to do this since Simon worked with them. Thank you and goodbye.
Josh Peters is a Grade 11 student at Central Commerce Collegiate. He has been with SIA this past semester as part of his co-op placement. We enjoyed working with him, and wish him the best of luck for next semester!
“Sure, Shakespeare could write some heavy stuff. But when he chose to lighten up, no one was more playful than The Bard. So we think he would have loved our Shakespeare Little Thinker Doll. He stands about 11 inches tall and is handsomely decked out in Elizabethan garb, from his boots right up to his ruffled collar. The Shakespeare Little Thinker makes a perfect gift for any student, actor, or writer. Or get one for yourself — He’s cute, cuddly, and scholarly — exactly As You Like It!”