Shakespeare Actors Conduct Workshop for Area Youth

July 18, 2014

NOTE: Sunday's performance will be held at the Firehouse Theatre (450 East Market Street, Alliance, Ohio). Tickets are still available.

ALLIANCE, Ohio – Actors from Shakespeare At The Castle recently conducted workshops for Interfaith Day Care children at Rodman Public Library. The workshops introduced students to Shakespeare's history, language, poetry and his most popular comedy, “A Midsummer Night's Dream.”

The workshops have been underwritten by The Greater Alliance Foundation, Arts In Stark and the University of Mount Union.

“When we first conceived Shakespeare At The Castle, we wanted to include programming for the younger folks,” said Mount Union assistant professor of theatre, Kevin P. Kern. “We created these workshops to introduce kids to Shakespearean history, plays, poetry and music. The largest barrier to enjoying Shakespeare is the preconceived notion that we won’t understand it. If we can reach audiences when they’re young and demystify the subject, we have a better chance of getting them to see the plays when they’re older.”

Kern and his wife Natalie have performed this workshop for groups in Alliance and Louisville. Prior to that, they were involved in similar workshops in California and Florida.

“Each time we perform this workshop, we find that children have a much larger capacity for understanding this work than we give them credit for,” said Kern. “It might be because no one has ever told them it’s difficult to understand. Probably a good lesson for all of us.”

The performers in this workshop are a mixture of professional actors and apprentices with Shakespeare At The Castle. Gary Lamb, who played guitar for the workshop, is a working actor in the Los Angeles area has chosen to spend a few weeks in Alliance. He will be playing Oberon in the show and has extensive experience in educational theatre, particularly with Shakespeare.

“Our hope is that these kids come home and talk about the workshop, and get their parents interested in seeing the show,” said Kern. “Inexpensive ‘general admission’ tickets have been made available for $5 so folks feel like they can take chance on the performances, knowing that it’s less expensive than going to a movie. Exposing the youngest in our community to live theatre is important: It expands their attention span, it gets them to use their imagination, it requires a higher level of engagement than plopping them down in front of a TV screen and it opens the door for other cultural experiences like live music, dance and fine art.”

Ticket prices for general admission are $5 per person. Preferred seating is available for $15. Rain location for the event is the Firehouse Theatre.

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