1st Annual ELEMENTARY Shakespeare Festival
This Saturday, the Houston Elementary School District is hosting the first annual, district-wide, elementary Shakespeare Festival. With multiple schools sending dozens of children to melodramatically perform and display their love of Shakespeare.
This is the first year of this fantastic festival and it came as a group effort from the elementary theater teachers in the school district. Bridget Adams, Sinclair Elementary Theatre teacher, on the impetus of the festival, "We thought, how wonderful would it be to put on a Shakespeare Festival with our students and show the world that our students love Shakespeare!"
Each show is about 20 – 25 minutes in length and designed to engage the kids with Shakespeare and drama. All the plays are written to be melodramatic and at a level for the kids to understand. As well, there are several Shakespeare lines sprinkled throughout so the kids get a flavor of The Bard's language without overwhelming them with the complexity around the language. The playwright, Brendan P. Kelso, said, "If we can get the kids to have a basic understanding of the storylines and characters, then we are successful. Once they realize how great Shakespeare's stories are, they usually pick up his actual text and start reading it. It's a wonderful gateway for them to learn about Shakespeare on their own accord."
Expect to laugh and have a wonderful time. With these plays, the comedies are funny, whereas the tragedies are even funnier. We asked Brendan why the tragedies are typically funnier than the comedies, "Simple. Kids LOVE to melodramatically die on stage. As well, there is usually a villain with swordplay. What a great combination!"
"I have had students tell me, as they start to study Shakespeare later in life, they found it much easier to understand because of these adaptations."
The festival is free to the public, just show up with a smile on your face and get ready to laugh and learn about Shakespeare.
To learn more about Shakespeare for Kids melodramatic books, visit their website at PlayingWithPlays.com or contact Brendan directly at Brendan@PlayingWithPlays.com