Students

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!

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WIN Tickets to the Shakespeare Challenge!

We can’t believe that there’s only one week left until our Champions take the stage at the Shakespeare Challenge fundraising gala on May 21!

And guess what? We have managed to save some tickets to give away to our dedicated online friends and followers@ Guests will be treated to a Shakespeare play, music, food, drinks, and a live and silent auction!

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To win a pair of tickets to the event, all you have to do is send an e-mail to jenny@shakespeareinaction.org, and include your name, contact information, and the answer to this question:

Which play will our Challenge Champions be performing at The Arts and Letters Club on May 21?
(Hint: Visit the Shakespeare Challenge page!)

Entries will be accepted until 11:59 PM on Sunday, May 18. Good luck!

*You must be at least 19 years of age to enter. Winners will be selected by a random draw, and will be contacted on Tuesday, May 20 to confirm their name on the guest list.

Shakespeare Summer Camps- Be the Early-Bard and Save!

Book by Friday, April 11, 2014 and save 10%!  Enter the code: EarlyBard

Registering siblings?  Enter the code: EarlyBardFamily

- The amazing cast! -

Kids’ Camp!
Focus Play TBA
Ages 7-12
June 30 – July 11, 2014
No camp on Canada Day
To register, click here.

Work with a professional actor.
Act, sing, improvise, design sets & costumes.
Make friends with other Shakespeare fans.
Step into the spotlight!

To see photos from last summer, click here!

- The superb cast! -

Teen Camp!
Focus Play TBA
Ages 13-17
June 30 – July 18, 2014
No camp on Canada Day
To register, click here.

Work with a professional actor.
Learn stage and film techniques.
Get a head start on high school.
Impress arts programs.
Build confidence, have fun, and..
Put on a show!

To see photos from last summer, click here!

Using Comics as Teaching Tools

I’ve seen a lot of online discussion about comics as a teaching tool. What you’re probably wondering is how are they being used and what is the impact?

Back in October, The Toronto Sun did an article on teacher Peter Kmet’s usage of comic books in elementary and high schools. The objective: getting kids interested in reading and writing, and encouraging high school students to be interested in reading and discuss complex issues such as racism and alcoholism.

Kmet picks comics that have a moral focus, where characters don’t just solve their problems with a violent brawl, turns them into a script, and takes the script to classrooms. The scripts are the focus of a reader’s theatre exercise, where students engage with the content, by actively portraying the characters. This program has proved to be extremely successful and the students that participate have gone through a rapid transformation, from nervously reading out loud to actively participating, either as readers portraying the roles in a loud booming voice or active listeners, intensely listening, while having the script read to them.

But what about Shakespeare? There are so many comic book adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays available, everything from the No Fear Shakespeare graphic novel adaptations, to the manga editions of Shakespeare’s plays, to the Shakespeare plays that have been a part of The Classics Illustrated comic book series, and many more. In order to adapt these plays to the comic book medium, some of them focus on simplifying the speeches so that what the characters are saying is closer to contemporary conversations and shorter. The point is to tell the stories of Shakespeare’s plays in a style that has the familiar aura of a superhero comic book, manga, or graphic novel, in order to encourage interest in Shakespeare’s stories. The point is to read the simplified version in order to understand the story better and hopefully encourage an interest in the original.

The Shakespeare comic books have the same purpose as Kmet’s comic book focused teaching: encouraging literacy in a way that’s welcoming, engaging, and fun. Comics are a popular part of contemporary culture, especially amongst young people so they’re a great way to introduce classics to young people.

What is your favorite Shakespeare comic/ graphic novel adaptation? Let us know!

TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club- Spring Session Taking Registrations!

– TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club - Jump for Shakespeare! Photo: SIA

– TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club – Jump for Shakespeare! Photo: SIA

Do your kids need a little drama in their life?

Well, Shakespeare will turn 450 (!) this April – what better way to celebrate than by joining the TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club!

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!

SPRING

Saturdays from:
April 5 – May 10, 2014

Morning (10am – 12pm)

Afternoon (2pm-4pm)

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Shakespeare Everywhere- Shakespeare in Za’atari

The imagination is a powerful thing. Through the alchemy of imagination, a broomstick turns into a sword, a crown of paper is transformed to glittering gold, and a tent in a Jordanian refugee camp becomes the Danish palace in Elsinore, or a windswept heath in pre-modern England. Shakespeare knew this, but even he acknowledges that sometimes the imagination requires a little encouragement to flourish:

“And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.”

In Za’atari refugee camp, a Syrian actor is using theatre to help dozens of displaced children create a better “habitation” out of “airy nothing.” Nuwar Boulboul, former star of the Syrian soap opera Bab al-Hara, has adapted two Shakespeare plays for children, and is training more than 6 dozen children from the camp. The young actors rehearse in one of the camp’s tents, using props and decorations they make themselves.

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Boulboul’s only request of his students is that they agree to attend one of the three schools set up by aid societies to serve the more than 25,000 children living in the camp. Before the uprising, Syria had one of the highest literacy and school enrollment rates in the region, but most of the children in Za’atari have now been out of school since the uprising began three years ago. Along with the acting training, Boulboul’s program builds children’s literacy and social skills, and provides them with a safe space to discuss and understand their feelings of loss, fear, isolation, and anger through the universal themes of Shakespeare’s works. Shakespeare in Za’atari provides a welcome creative and educational service to a population struggling to meet even basic needs.

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This project is also an opportunity to draw the world’s attention to Syria’s refugee crisis. The children will perform their productions of Hamlet and King Lear for World Theatre Day on March 27th, 2014, and Boulboul is hoping that UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and other world leaders and celebrities will attend. The students of Shakespeare in Za’atari are lucky to have support of an educator like Nuwar Boulboul to ignite their imaginations and lift them out of their circumstances. The selfless dedication of Mr. Boulboul is an important reminder that all children, regardless of circumstance, deserve an education and a childhood.

If you are interested in learning more about Shakespeare in Za’atari, you can visit their Facebook page!

You can also do some more reading on Shakespeare in Za’atari here:
http://www.english.globalarabnetwork.com/2014022313352/Culture/shakespeare-in-za-atari-refugee-camp.html
http://www.economist.com/blogs/pomegranate/2014/02/shakespeare-syrian-style
http://news.yahoo.com/shakespeare-rescue-syria-39-39-lost-39-generation-123012103.html

What’s Ahead in 2014

Happy New Year, everyone! The SIA team is back into the swing of things after the Winter Break, and we’ve got some great projects lined up in the coming months! Here is a taste of what is happening in 2014.

TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club

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The TD Shakespeare for Kids Library Club is our free readers’ theatre program for children ages 7-12, and is located at Toronto Public Library branches across the city! The Winter Session runs on Saturdays from February 1-March 8. Visit a participating branch to register!

The Shakespeare Challenge

O - Shakespeare in Action - Shakespeare Challenge - 2013 - The Island is Full of Noises

The Shakespeare Challenge is back for the third year! This year, our fearless champions will be performing an abridged version of Twelfth Night. On top of that, they will be raising money for Shakespeare in Action’s subsidized ticket program, providing access to theatre for students across Toronto. Tickets for the gala performance and silent auction on February 8 will be on sale soon, so make sure to check back for more information!

Sonnets by Kids for Valentine’s Day

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Looking for a creative way to tell someone you love them this Valentine’s Day? Why not let us do the work! Purchase a Sonnet for your sweetie for only $25, and one of our talented Shakespeare Kids will call your loved one to recite a Shakespeare Sonnet just for them! Make sure to purchase yours today!

Romeo and Juliet

L-R: Kaleb Alexander and Shaina Silver-Baird Photo: Joel Charlebois

Romeo and Juliet returns as part of the Double Tragedy this Spring, along with Macbeth. Already enjoyed by thousands of students across Toronto and the GTA, Romeo and Juliet will run from March 27-April 10. For more information on performance dates and times, or to book your seats, visit the Romeo and Juliet show page!

Macbeth

Double Tragedy: - Macbeth -  T-B: David Shelley and Kaleb Alexander Photo: Joel Charlebois

Macbeth is the second show on board as part of the Double Tragedy this Spring. Like Romeo and Juliet, this show has been enjoyed by thousands of students across Toronto and the GTA, and will run from March 28- April 11. For more information on performance dates and times, or to book your seats, visit the Macbeth show page!