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Shakespeare & Company

Students Ready 10-Play Shakespeare Festival

Shakespeare & Company logoHundreds of teenagers armed with creative freedom, passionate text, flashing broadswords, and jubilant dances, will take to the stage this weekend for the 25th Annual Fall Festival of Shakespeare in Lenox, Mass.

The Fall Festival is the culmination of thenationally recognized program that places Shakespeare & Company Education Artists in 10 regional schools, where they lead students in a nine-week exploration of how Shakespeare's plays relate to their own lives and "hold a mirror up to nature." Built on the transformative power of Shakespeare's words, the Fall Festival seeks to engage students in vibrant, playful, and poignant theatrical experiences.

The Fall Festival concludes with the students performing a Shakespeare play at their own school and then again as part of a four-day marathon of plays at Shakespeare & Company's Tina Packer Playhouse from Thursday, Nov. 21 through Sunday, Nov. 24.
The following performances are scheduled:

These schools mount full productions of Shakespeare plays (cut to 90 minutes) with a team of professional directors, costumers, set, light, sound designers, and production staff from Shakespeare & Company. “The Fall Festival is as physically demanding as a varsity sport, as intellectually rigorous as an honors class, and as emotionally charged as adolescence itself,” said Kevin G. Coleman, Shakespeare & Company's director of education, in a company press release.

Led by Coleman, Associate Director of Education Jenna Ware, and School Programs Manager Alexandra Lincoln, the Fall Festival is a celebration rather than a competition. Students are encouraged to delve into Shakespeare's works, unpacking the language and savoring the humor, intensity, and transcendent beauty of Shakespeare's plays. Daily rehearsals focus on students' personal responses to the text and connection to language. Students also have the opportunity to explore stage combat, performance, dance, technical theatre, stage management, and marketing and publicity techniques during their Fall Festival experience. Shakespeare & Company's set, props, technical, and costume staff collaborates with the education artists and students to create a unique design for each play.

“What can I possibility say to capture the pride, the history, the work, and play of over 240 productions?" Coleman said. "How can one even add up the overwhelming numbers of students, teachers, parents, families, directors, costumers, technicians, liaisons, custodians, administrators, friends, and financial supporters who have contributed to the Fall Festival for the past 25 years? Fall Festival students have become Festival directors; past Festival kids are now the parents of present Festival kids. After 25 years, the Fall Festival of Shakespeare has made a home in the community with two generations, and we haven't exhausted them yet.”

The Company's award-winning education program is one of the most extensive theatre-in-education programs in the Northeast, and has reached millions of students since 1988 with innovative performances, workshops, and residencies. In addition to the Fall Festival of Shakespeare, other Shakespeare & Company programs include The Northeast Regional Tour of Shakespeare, Shakespeare in the Courts, Shakespeare & Young Company, Riotous Youth, Elementary & Middle School Tour, Shakespeare in Our Schools, Workshops for Teachers and Actors, and the National Institute on Teaching Shakespeare, funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students per performance. A Festival Pass, which grants admission to all 10 plays, may also be purchased for $75 for adults and $30 for students. For tickets, please call the box office at 413-637-3353 or visit For more information on the Fall Festival of Shakespeare and other Education Programs, please contact Associate Director of Education Jenna Ware at 413-637-1199, ext. 172.

The Fall Festival program is supported in part by grants from The National Endowment for the Arts, the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation, Deb and Bill Ryan, Jeffrey Konowitch and Wendy Laurin, Berkshire Bank, The Red Lion Inn, Country Curtains, the Great Barrington, Lee, Lenox, Monterey, New Marlboro, North Andover, Pittsfield, Sheffield, Springfield, Stockbridge, and Richmond Cultural Councils, and a coalition of businesses, families, and individuals.

November 20, 2013

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