Shakespeare in Shades

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SIS-logoShakespeare in Shades a great success!

Right before the holiday weekend, over 150 friends, families, students, and teachers gathered to celebrate nearly 30 rising 6th graders and their accomplishments in the first-ever Shakespeare in Shades summer program.  The evening showcase included a pre-performance dinner reception followed by a presentation of an adapted play based on Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars and Holes by Louis Sachar in the Carousel Theatre.  The evening served as the culmination and celebration of the students’ hard work throughout this reading and theatre enrichment program.  At the conclusion of the event, students were presented with awards from their respective middle school principals as their team of UT Theatre Assistants, along with their family and friends cheered them on!  To continue fostering a love of the theatre, audience members were also surprised, by receiving vouchers to come back and attend a season production at the Clarence Brown Theatre.  Shakespeare in Shades was made possible through the Great Schools Partnership in partnership with the Clarence Brown Theatre and Knox County Schools.


May 3, 2016

Be Not Afraid Of Greatness:
UT Students Engage With Middle Schoolers Through Theatre

KNOXVILLE—For rising sixth-graders, middle school seems as foreign as Stratford-upon-Avon. Theatre students at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville/Clarence Brown Theatre, are working with the Great Schools Partnership and Knox County Schools to provide a free summer program that seeks to smooth this transition period for upcoming middle schoolers while boosting their reading skills and introducing them to new literature and theatre.

The program, aimed at selected rising sixth graders from Knox County Schools, is called Shakespeare in Shades. Teams of UT theatre students serve as theatre assistants and mentors to the youth participants. This summer enrichment program blends theatre games with Shakespearean texts, all while working to stage a final performance of an adapted middle school novel.

“I’m excited to take time to pour into little kids the passion for Theatre and storytelling that people in my life were able to do for me. And my hope is that kids will leave the program, realizing that Shakespeare and other famous writers were just regular people, writing stories about their everyday lives, which have so many similarities to the themes and struggles that people deal with today,” said recent UT MFA Theatre graduate Andrew Drake.

The youth participants are rising from Beaumont Magnet, Lonsdale, Norwood, Green Magnet and Sarah Moore Greene Elementary Schools and will attend either Northwest Middle or Vine Magnet Middle School. The program is offered during the morning at Northwest Middle and in the afternoons at Vine Magnet, Monday through Friday throughout the month of June.

“Shakespeare in Shades is a program where we have the opportunity to instill in students a love of theatre by teaching reading creatively and inspiring them to use their imaginations,” said Julia Stark one of the UT Theatre students helping to teach the class.

Camp-goers will rehearse on campus in the CBT’s Carousel Theatre during the final week of the program, June 27-30. Vine Magnet Middle will be presenting an adaptation of Holes by Louis Sachar and Northwest Middle will present an adaptation of Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.

“The CBT is honored to be collaborating with Great Schools Partnership and Knox County Schools on Shakespeare in Shades this summer, the first program of its kind in our region. In addition to fostering a love of the arts, the experience will increase reading proficiency, through the practice of theatre, for the rising sixth graders. UT students will gain just as much as the middle schoolers through this unique partnership,” said CBT Managing Director David Byrd.

Shakespeare in Shades is made possible through the Great Schools Partnership, in partnership with Knox County Schools and the Clarence Brown Theatre.

In addition to the UT theatre students, Knox County teachers serve as reading and theatre faculty advisors at each site.

“As we strive to create the best schools in the south, we must be creative,” says Stephanie Welch from Great Schools Partnership. “Shakespeare in Shades taps into one of our communities’ creative gems – UT’s Clarence Brown Theatre – to build reading skills among middle school youth.”