Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s Shakespeare Alive! Program

by Ed Forteau /
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Oct 29, 2010 / 0 comments

Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s Shakespeare Alive! Program Expands in Osceola County Public Schools

Orlando, FL – October 28, 2010 – Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF announces the expansion of its Shakespeare Alive! program in Osceola County Public Schools.

David and Lyn Berelsman, members of the Orlando Shakes Board of Directors, graciously offered funding to expand Orlando Shakespeare Theater’s Shakespeare Alive! program in Osceola County.  Mr. and Ms. Berelsman and Debbie Fahmie, the Fine and Performing Arts Specialist of the Osceola County Public Schools, worked intensively with the Orlando Shakes education department to bring this idea to fruition.

“[Orlando Shakespeare Theater is] thrilled with the innovation and potential of this program to reach students across Central Florida,"
says Shannon Lacek, Managing Director of Orlando Shakes. “This program was inspired by a single patron and has grown into an ideal collaboration between Orlando Shakes education department, private donors, school administration, and teachers, all resulting in an amazing educational experience for students.”

The donated funding allows teachers of the participating schools to receive the training necessary for incorporating Shakespeare Alive! into their academic curriculum.  Drama and English teachers work together, developing the tools to break down and teach Shakespeare’s works to their students, to encourage the understanding that the arts are an integral part of education.  Using A Midsummer Night’s Dream as an example, teachers examine and utilize scansion, themes, characterization, history, rhetorical devices, and the use of language.  They are then assigned different Shakespeare plays and use the exercises they’ve learned to create their own curriculum guides.

Once teachers have received training, Orlando Shakes Actor/Educators visit the schools to conduct a Shakespeare Alive! residency.  This program, complete with student participation and performance exercises, fulfills Sunshine State Standards using arts integration and allows students to explore Shakespeare’s language, imagery, and relevance to the modern world.

Sunshine State Standards met by Shakespeare Alive! :

    LA.1112.2.1  The student identifies, analyzes, and applies knowledge of the elements of a variety of fiction and literary texts to develop a thoughtful response to a literary selection.
    LA.1112.1.7.3  The student will determine the main idea or essential message in grade-level or higher texts through inferring, paraphrasing, summarizing, and identifying relevant details and facts.
    LA.1112.5.2.1  The student will demonstrate effective listening skills and behaviors for a variety of purposes, and demonstrate understanding by critically evaluating and analyzing oral presentations
    TH.C.1.4  The student understands context by analyzing the role of theater, film, television, and electronic media in the past and present.
    TH.D.1.4  The student analyzes, criticizes, and constructs meaning from formal and informal theater, film, television, and electronic media.
    TH.E.1.4  The student understands applications of the role of theater, film, television, and electronic media in everyday life.
    TH.A.1.4  The student acts by developing, communicating, and sustaining characters in improvisation and formal or informal productions.

Classes that have participated in the Shakespeare Alive! program will attend a professional production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center in February 2011.  The students will also participate in a post-show Q&A with the actors to enhance their experience and write a performance critique as a class assignment.

Anne Hering, Director of Education at Orlando Shakespeare Theater, says, “For many years Shakespeare Alive! has been Orlando Shakes' most popular in-school curriculum. We are thrilled to expand its presence in Osceola County. This pilot program will empower teachers to share the joy of Shakespeare with their students both in the classroom and in the theater!”

If you are interested and would like to incorporate the Shakespeare Alive! program in either Osceola or Orange County schools, please contact Lisa Horohoe (Theater for Young Audiences Coordinator) at lisah[at]orlandoshakes.org, or call the Education Department at (407) 447-1700 ext. 254.


About Orlando Shakespeare Theater
With Shakespeare as its standard and inspiration, the Orlando Shakespeare Theater in Partnership with UCF produces bold professional theater, develops new plays, and provides innovative educational experiences to more than 25,000 K-12 students throughout Central Florida.