"My students...all agreed that seeing the play performed live by actors who really know Shakespeare's language and meaning greatly enhanced their understanding and appreciation of it. Both my students and I were delighted by the performance." –Ariel Richvalsky, Classroom Teacher, Atlantic Christian School
"I used to be really shy and hated acting in front of a class...and now I'm way more comfortable in acting in front of a crowd. I can't wait until they come back in the spring!!" –10th grade student, Central High School
"As you could tell, Millville students absolutely loved the play. I believe we have convinced a few people that live theater brings literature to life." –Jean Curnow, Classroom Teacher, Millville Senior High School
Illumination Education Program
Shakespeare Mini-Residency Program
Our most popular program!
Each season, Lantern Theater Company selects a Shakespeare play to perform as part of our regular Mainstage season. Our Shakespeare Mini-Residency program builds upon that play as the basis of a free-form, arts appreciation-focused residency that engages students with the material while providing them the opportunity to see a professional Shakespeare production in our intimate, 150-seat venue. Many participating students are seeing live Shakespeare for the first time, and some are seeing live theater for the first time. Participating schools receive the following services at no cost:
- An eleven-lesson curriculum based on the play being performed (Coriolanus during the 2016/17 season and The Tempest during the 2017/18 season)
- Three visits from a team of two Lantern teaching artists to cover key units from the curriculum as selected by each school's teacher/administrator
- Tickets to a student matinee performance of the play and a post-show talkback with the cast
- Travel reimbursement up to $200
- A post-show classroom visit by our teaching artists (and often a member of the cast, if possible) to discuss the production more fully
Depending upon funding, we select 6-12 schools each year to participate in the Shakespeare Mini-Residency program. When selecting partner schools, special consideration is given to schools serving students with special needs, English Language Learner students, and/or schools with a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students.
We are also happy to offer our Shakespeare Mini-Residency program to schools with the resources to cover teaching artist and ticket costs.
Why Focus on Shakespeare?
During the 2016/17 season, we will offer residencies on various titles, including Coriolanus, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night's Dream, and Hamlet.
While we are committed to the idea that the Lantern's approach to education works on any topic in nearly every school subject, the overwhelming majority of our efforts in Philadelphia's classrooms focuses on the works of William Shakespeare. So why focus on Shakespeare? To borrow a phrase, "Let Us Count the Ways..."
- "Because It's There!" In Pennsylvania, Shakespeare is part of the required curriculum for 9th graders (Romeo and Juliet), 10th graders (Julius Caesar), and is considered a key optional text for other grade levels and classes. Students have to study Shakespeare – and many classroom teachers are simply not well-prepared when it comes to teaching it. Shakespeare was written for an audience fully-immersed in an aural learning tradition (i.e., people learned by hearing things), whereas our contemporary culture is immersed in a written learning tradition (we learn by reading things). This presents a particular challenge in the classroom for student comprehension – one best solved by bringing in actors and directors who have practical experience with Shakespeare. They are essentially specialists in "teaching" the story of a Shakespeare play to an audience.
- "Words, Words, Words..." Teenagers in 21st-century America are living through a key evolutionary moment in their native language unlike anything that's happened in our country's history. Teenagers today are expected to master the old forms of traditional English, but they communicate socially in an almost entirely new language, which for lack of a better invented name we'll call "textspeke" (currently defined as a mostly a written language that can actually influence the way we speak aloud). In order to be successful adults, students need to navigate seamlessly between both languages and still present themselves authentically and powerfully, just as Shakespearean actors have to do onstage.
- Releasing the Pressure. Studies have shown that successful completion of 10th grade and graduation to 11th grade is a key point in student education – nearly half of students who drop out do so between 10th and 11th grade. Likewise, 9th and 10th grade are key years for student development, as these two years are the time when students are developing what will likely be lifelong attitudes about themselves as learners and their relationship to education. The introduction of Shakespeare into the English curriculum at these grade levels can complicate these learning attitudes – a complex, non-literary curricular unit can frustrate even the best English students and sour a student towards English class, school itself, and their own identity as a learner. The Lantern's approach to Shakespeare can relieve some of this pressure, introducing a non-traditional method that allows students to enjoy and more easily appreciate the material, and therefore shape more positive attitudes towards learning in these crucial years.
- Find Your Passion. We're pretty passionate about Shakespeare here at the Lantern – you don't commit to doing Shakespeare every season for the last 13 years unless you are! And while we'd love to think that everyone can (and should) be passionate about Shakespeare, we understand that not everybody is. But everybody should be passionate about something, and the best thing we can do in the classroom is share what we're passionate about, show how hard we have worked to pursue that passion, and hope that it inspires students to find and pursue their own passions.
For More Information
If you are interested in participating in the Shakespeare Mini-Residency program, please contact M. Craig Getting, Education Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org
or 215.829.9002 x104.
Pictured: 10th grade students participating in a residency on A Midsummer Night's Dream at core partner school Academy at Palumbo. Photo: Lauren Tuvell.