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The Early Bard Gets the Discount- Book Now!

The 2015/16 season has just begun, and we cannot wait to bring Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop and Suddenly Shakespeare directly to your school! As a special bonus, we are offering an Early Bard discount if you book before October 16, 2015!*

Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop- November 23- December 4, 2015 and April 18- May 6, 2016

Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop is a vibrant, interactive presentation that demonstrates how modern hip-hop shares many similarities with the themeslanguage and rhythm used by Shakespeare. Both are full of poetry, word play and lyricism, and both deal with what it is to be human.

The presentation features three professional actors, thumb-nail sketches of Shakespeare’s life and times, and key scenes & speeches from Shakespeare’s most popularly studied plays – including MacbethRomeo & Juliet and Hamlet.

Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop brings alive the parallels between the world of the plays and their own contemporary experience. It’s the perfect complement to your in-class teaching of a specific play, in the beginning, in the middle or at the end.

Suddenly Shakespeare- April 4-15, 2016

This Spring, Shakespeare in Action brings Kim Selody’s sparking production of Suddenly Shakespeare to your school.

This hour long performance brings four of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays –Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, Macbeth and Twelfth Night – to life for children ages five to seventy-five. Featuring music, dance and physical comedy, the performance is the perfect introduction to Shakespeare for young audiences.

Shakespeare in Action’s Artistic Director, Michael Kelly, describes the show as “a feast of magic, laughter, music and spectacle.” He says, “Suddenly Shakespeare will knock your kids’ socks off! Shakespeare’s stories are so magical, and the show allows kids, no matter what their age, to really participate with the material in a fun and engaging way.”

*Book either of these shows before October 16, 2015, and SAVE $50!

For more information, or to book, please call (416) 703-4881, or e-mail info@shakespeareinaction.org!

Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop- Making a difference in the lives of students!

Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop is a vibrant, interactive presentation that demonstrates how modern hip-hop shares many similarities with the themes, language and rhythm used by Shakespeare. Both are full of poetry, word play and lyricism, and both deal with what it is to be human.

Students at Central Toronto Academy were inspired by the Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop performance, and found a way to combine Shakespeare and rap for their final Drama class project! Find out what they had to say about the show, and watch them rehearse!

The Shakespeare Meets Hip Hop tour will be back for the 2015/16 season! Visit our website or send an e-mail to info@shakespeareinaction.org for more info!

Photo Friday- Envelopes! Envelopes Everywhere!

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!

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Rosemary is focused on getting through her pile of flyers!

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The wall between me and Rosemary is growing by the minute! And we weren’t even half finished at this point!

Conquering Shakespearephobia and the Importance of Live Theatre Today

“…and he felt no remorse what so ever!” is what I overheard a student remarking last week as he and his classmates exited the theatre after attending SIA’s production of Hamlet. I imagine his remark was in reference to Claudius’ character. That kind of observation, comparison and conversation is why theatre is important. Theatre helps us understand human motivation and psychology, it teaches us to look inward at ourselves and identify with characters that mirror or challenge our values and simultaneously entertains audiences.

I believe that it is harder than ever to successfully capture today’s theatre audience, but I also believe that today’s audience is better equipped to be challenged and moved by the power of theatre. Here’s why: I often observe parents or teachers remarking that kids today are more technologically inclined than ever, that they’ve been operating computers and iPhones since before they could talk. That’s why the experience of attending a live show is thrilling. It’s brand new and it’s happening in real time, it’s “reality entertainment” at it’s best…it doesn’t get more real than actors performing right before your eyes. Unfortunately I think we underestimate the transient power of theatre and assume that kids today don’t understand or can’t appreciate or can’t grasp the complexity of theatre let alone Shakespeare’s work.  I’m 24 and I’m a theatre graduate and I’m not sure that I’ll ever fully understand Shakespeare, but I know how it makes me feel, and isn’t that the point? To be able to experience something that sparks an insightful conversation? Something that reminds us of our own humanity?

I’m writing this morning from our offices at Shakespeare in Action, a week after overhearing that student’s reaction to Hamlet…I can still see the expression on that student’s face, smiling at his friend, something about Claudius’ character resonated with him and made him contemplate the themes of remorse and consequence. I was ushering that afternoon and he thanked me on his way out, “This was really good,” he said, “Thank you so much!” And in that moment, I was humbly reminded of how thankful I am for that thing called theatre magic. It’s real. Get out to a theatre and experience it for yourself and whatever you do, don’t fret about whether you ‘get’ it or not.

Photo Friday- Hamlet and His Advisors

As you may be aware, Shakespeare in Action turns 25 this year (we’re all grown up!), so you’ll forgive us if we’ve been caught up in nostalgia lately. Photo Friday lends the perfect opportunity to take a look back, quite literally, at our long and storied history. And since the first show of our 25th anniversary season is Hamlet, let’s take a peek at this priceless relic from the early days of Shakespeare in Action.

In this scene, advisors to Hamlet (i.e. students from a local secondary school) gather around to give the prince some much-needed counsel.

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(Bonus points if you can deduce based on hairstyle alone in which decade of our illustrious history this photo was taken!)

Wordy Wednesday- Pomp and Circumstance

“Farewell the neighing steed and the shrill trump, The spirit-stirring drum, th’ear-piercing fife, The royal banner, and all quality, Pride, pomp, and circumstance of glorious war!”

The phrase may seem familiar to you from the musical piece “Pomp and Circumstance Military Marches, Op. 39” by Sir Edward Elgar, often heard at graduation ceremonies.Given these two contexts, one may be able to deduce that the meaning hasn’t changed too drastically since Shakespeare’s time. Pomp is derived from the Greek word “pompa” meaning procession, and is used to describe something of “magnificence and splendor”. (Pomp, used in its negative form, describes “an ostentatious display of wealth or ceremony” lending the adjective “pompous”, which originally meant simply “characterized by pomp” but now means “self-important or arrogant.”) Circumstance, in this phrase, is used in its singular form, and means “the ‘ado’ made about anything; formality, ceremony, about any important event or action”. We commonly use the plural form “circumstances” in a similar way to describe “a fact or condition connected with or relevant to an event or action”.
The phrase “pomp and circumstance” thus means a magnificent display with surrounding fuss and/or importance. I think graduation ceremonies capture the essence of this phrase quite well. The “pomp” is the ceremony itself of graduates being celebrated, and the circumstance is demonstrated by those attending the event to witness and celebrate the achievements of the graduates, many of whom take photos and videos to commemorate the event.