Shakespearience

Shakespearience

Shakespearience

In the photo: Brandon Hunter portrays King Henry at Sandpoint Middle School’s Shakespearience

Deborah McShane LOVES the theater and wants students to love it, too. She has directed many community productions at the Panida Theater, most recently “Music Man.” As a Sandpoint Middle School English teacher, she knows that seventh- and eighth-graders are prime for developing an ear for Shakespeare and for appreciating the bard’s wit and wisdom.

Why not bring Shakespearean Theater into the school? The Idaho Shakespeare Festival has a program to do just that. Using the Betty Ann Diehl Award for the Arts from Panhandle Alliance for Education, she invited the festival’s traveling troupe to perform at the Sandpoint Middle School. It was a perfect fit. Dynamic young performers are chosen for the traveling troupe, and they know how to engage students. At the close of each performance, the actors host an Afterword, a time to field questions from students and staff.

Weeks before the troupe arrived in Sandpoint eight language arts and social studies teachers worked with 500 students to learn the culture, history and vocabulary of the Elizabethan era. They also studied Shakespearean characters and drama.

But “the play is the thing.” When the troupe arrived the students were ready for the antics, the poetry, the history, the characters – The Play.

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