February 18-20 and 23-26, 2015
"Once those ninth graders perform a Shakespeare play, they have the keys to the kingdom. They are bursting with justifiable pride, and full of confidence. When they return from the festival, they rule!"
Students learn Shakespeare deeply and well: they work on the performance of a short scene and deeply engage with his language, characters, and plays. And they learn from the performances of others.
Each winter, more than a thousand middle school and high school students learn intensely. They spend days packed into our theatre performing Shakespeare, or watching the performances of their peers.
The annual Secondary School Shakespeare Festival for students in grades 7-12 who attend school in the DC, Virginia, and Maryland metropolitan area.
Students are at the Folger for the full Festival experience, as performers and audience members. Performances run 25 minutes. All texts must be in Shakespeare's language. Abridged versions of the plays or theme-based montages are fine, but no dumbed down language, please. Commentators-excellent performers and educators all-offer praise and insight after each performance, and students comment too.
What is new in 2015?
In order to enhance all of the Festival's educational goals, we made some changes to certain areas of the Festival, outlined below. These changes created structures through which students from different schools connected with one another, and underscored the importance of student ownership of the Festival work.
So that greater collaboration among Festival participants from different schools takes place:
Buddy schools will be assigned in mid-January and we expect schools to start then to form an online community with one another. The application will ask schools to explain how they will do that.
Students will be asked to comment on one another's performances (see below).
To encourage student leadership in all phases of Festival work:
The application will ask for a full list of student contributions to the work, besides acting. It is important to us that students are also directing, editing, stage managing, leading language work, and more.
Our commentators are fewer in number and will provide encouraging comments and constructive ones, such as "If you are going to keep working on this, here are a couple of areas to focus on..." Commentators will give brief comments after each performance, and will ask for responsible comments from students in the audience.
Each school will be asked to provide a short synopsis of their play as part of their broadside program.
Lastly, upon acceptance into the Festival, each Festival participant will be required to submit release forms, so that we may take photographs and video during the Festival.