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Gallaudet University

First Folio Focus of Family Fun Day

The Folger Library's national tour of William Shakespeare's First Folio arrives back at Washington, D.C., but across town at Gallaudet University, which is celebrating Oct. 8 as "Bard for a Day." The day of activities and events aimed at Deaf families features several theater companies, including Synetic Theater, Shakespeare Theatre Company, and Faction of Fools.

The centerpiece feature is the Folger's traveling exhibit, "First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare" and a complementary exhibit on "Shakespeare in American Deaf History." The latter examines the importance of Shakespeare to the American Deaf community. Additional components related to the theme of visual Shakespeare include a model of the Globe Theatre, an installation of the Kinect game "Play the Knave," and a tactile-experience table focused on early modern writing and printing. The tactile experience includes a First Folio replica with Braille overlay and Braille labels for all items. Braille versions of exhibit text are also available. The exhibit is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with docent-led tours beginning at the top of every hour and running approximately 30–40 minutes.

In addition to craft activities, costumes, a selfie booth, face painting, American Sign Language (ASL) storytelling, and a moon bounce on the Gallaudet Mall (in case of inclement weather the activities will move indoors to the Field House Gym), the following performances and workshops are scheduled:

The Nicolo Whimsey Show—A 16th century–flavored show blending poetry, music, juggling, comedy, character acting, and audience participation.

Folger Family Folio Fun—A lesson in how the First Folio was printed and Shakespeare's language.

Exploring Shakespeare through Art: Collage—Artist Katherine Knight uses Shakespeare's plays to teach participants how to use color, shape, and texture to communicate a unique character or scene and create an artwork of their own.

Synetic Theater's The Rest Is Silence—A workshop in which students apply Synetic's techniques to explore the Bard's most famous scenes and find ways to perform these complex actions, characters, and themes without words.

Physical Theater, Faction of Fools—A workshop introducing students to the style and history of Commedia dell'Arte. Participants will physically explore the classical stock characters and scenarios, learn improvisation and mask skills, and develop an appreciation for the international and historical context of Commedia dell'Arte.

Juggling with Nick Newlin—Participants receive instruction on basic juggling techniques and spinning plates.

Romeo and Juliet, Faction of Fools—This Commedia dell'Arte adaptation of Shakespeare's tragedy is a production that put the theater company on the map of critical acclaim in 2012.

Blood and Guts, Shakespeare Theatre Company—Shakespeare Theatre Company Prop Shop Director Chris Young has received some bizarre requests over the years. "Can you make mud that an actor can eat?" "We want to squish the eye after we pull it out." "Help! We need a dead body by Thursday." Now he's opening up his toolkit for Gallaudet and sharing some of the ways props, stage blood, and makeup can enhance a performance. Participants will have the option to roll up their sleeves and test out some blood or watch the action from afar.

The Fairies of A Midsummer Night's Dream—Led by the artistic director of Cleveland Sign Stage Theater, participants will act out a short scene inspired by the play while having fun with props and simple costumes.

Exploring Shakespeare through Art: Puppets—Katherine Knight teaches participants how to use color, shape, and texture to communicate a unique character or scene and create a puppet of their own.

Taste of Shakespeare—Led by Gallaudet Theatre Program Faculty Cheryl Lundquist.

Silent Shakespeare, Synetic Theater—Selections from Othello, Hamlet, and A Midsummer Night's Dream expressed through dance, clowning, pantomime illusions, and unique choreography.

Shakespeare's Greatest Hits, Shakespeare Theatre Company—Get reacquainted with the Bard's memorable characters in this 30-minute performance highlighting both hilarious and poignant moments from his most celebrated plays performed by professional actors dressed in exquisite Elizabethan costumes.

Registration is required for many of the workshops with priority given to children in Deaf families and families with Deaf and hard of hearing children. To register, go to

For the complete schedule, visit

September 29, 2016

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