Thursday, February 18, 2010

Shakespeare in School

This is for Sarawakiania and http://sylviafromoverthehill.blogspot.com/

Both Sarawakiana and Sylvia are retired teachers, and I presumed they taught Shakespeare.

It is by coincidence that the New Zealand Ugly Shakespeare company came to my school yesterday, and I spoke with them an took the photos and I read in Sylvia's post this quote.

The robbed that smiles, steals something from the thief. ~William Shakespeare, Othello

When I was a high school student, it was compulsory as an Arts student to do Shakespeare for my Cambridge exams. I must say Shakespeare then was dry and boring. All I remembered of Julius Caesar was Mark Antony's " Friends, countrymen, lend me your ears." and for Othello, it was even a misconception that Desdemona cuckolded Othello, a black man. Because I found out Othello wasn't even a black man.

My daughter Deborah performed in the Mid Summer's night dream. I went to watch as a bias mum, being proud of how beautiful and good an actor Deborah was.

My school has a very good auditorium, and we often have productions, musicals and orchestra. Yesterday, on my way home, this truck pulled up. It has Shakespeare's photo on it. Seizing this opportunity for a post, I spoke to one of the guys. He was even happy to close one side of the door so I can take a good photo and he obliged me with my questions.

They were coming for a rehearsal. Then they were performing for many high schools in Auckland. If only they were around when I was in school.


The Ugly Shakespeare Company has a proven record in New Zealand schools, providing consistently high quality live theatre performances since 1996. The company began with only 72 schools on the list and since then our success and the demand for our visits have extended our audience reach to over 120 schools nationwide on an annual basis. This growth is a combination of our ability to actually engage with the teens themselves as well as our determination to continue with what we believe – that is to make professional, live theatre accessible to youth.

The company has completed FOURTEEN NATIONAL TOURS and TWO OUTDOOR SUMMER SHAKESPEARE EVENTS in the last twelve years.

The Ugly Shakespeare Company has a unique approach to both Shakespeare and live performance. We are strong believers in getting amongst the students and relating to them on a level that is both contemporary and non-patronising. Our success lies in our ability to utilise teen culture within our shows. This includes using current teen vernacular, references to film, TV or music that is relevant, as well as adapting the show on the road to fit changing trends.


Reader Wil said...

Shakespeare is fun. We used to go to a village in Drenthe, one of our northern provinces. Every year the population of this place is involved in performing one of the many Shakespeare plays. It's done in an open air theatre. The inhabitants of this place sew their costumes, they look after sound and light effects and there is a group of regular players. It's great! One of the women does the translation. She is an excellent translator.
Thanks for your visit! Yes the birds in the picture are pelicans and herons and probably some smaller sea birds.

Rune Eide said...

I'm impressed by the name, but I get your point without difficulty. Nice to see that it has been a success.

Re your comment - not all Norwegian houses have underground cables. That would have been to expensive, but luckily we have.

Joe Todd said...

Neat post Gave me an idea for a vacation Stratford in Ontario Canada. The town for the most part is dedicated to Shakespeare

Carver said...

Great post and sounds like fun. I always loved Shakespeare and thought it was a shame when kids were turned off by dull presentations. The Ugly Shakespeare company sounds fantastic for the kids.

Sylvia K said...

What a great post, Ann and it does sound like fun. I do love Shakespeare and did try to help my students see the fun and the beauty in his works. It worked with some and with some it didn't. The Ugly Shakespeare Company does sound like a fantastic idea. Thanks for this, it is always appreciated. Hope your have a great weekend!


Regina said...

I love Shakespeare. "What's in a name? That which we call a rose. By any other name would smell as sweet." Juliet

Great story and post Ann!
Happy weekend.

Kat said...

What a wonderful post, and I love what they are doing! There is no greater crime in my mind than presenting the classics in such a dull, boring manner that kids are turned off by them. Bravo! Kathy

Martha said...

I think it's all pretty cool!

Ensurai said...

They are indeed doing a great favour to the next new generation!! What dedication! Admirable.

Nice post. Thanks.

I feel so sorry for many students who do not like to read good literature. sigh.....

Tammie Lee said...

wow, they have a new van. The one they rented me was silver and diesel, I felt a bit like a truck driver. Still this is so much fun to see. If I can find a photo of the one I drove for 5 weeks, I will send it to you. Thank you for sharing this with me.