All the classroom is a stage for Stevenson students
All the classroom is a stage for Stevenson students
Posted on 10/19/2018
Students acting out play

Finding Your Place in the World. Conflicts with family and friends. Falling in love.

A new reality show for teenagers?

No, the timeless writings of an English poet from more than three centuries ago.

Stevenson High School students recently had the opportunities to learn how the writing of William Shakespeare relates to their world today, thanks to professional directors and performers from Stratford, Ontario.

Members of the festival’s education program spent time with 90 Stevenson students to discuss the language and themes of Shakespeare.

English teacher Annette Christiansen said the program's visit allowed students to explore Shakespearean themes before they began their study of Hamlet – a piece read by UCS students in 11th grade.

“It makes Hamlet feel more accessible,” Christiansen said. “Students learn how this play is written for people their age. The program shows them how the play speaks to them and how they can approach it.”

The Stratford program is presented to less than 20 schools each year, according to Edward Daranyi, associate director for education at Stratford.

“We want to partner with teachers to support learning,” he said. “We find – especially in the age of technology – that students feel less connections with Shakespeare and may block it out. We show them how Shakespeare is one of the writers that has transcended time and that the stories are universal.”

In a span of about 60 minutes, the directors and actors worked with students on the rhythms of Shakespeare’s language and what it means when characters fall in and out of it. They also had students role play the themes of Hamlet.

“Your students are extremely smart,” Daranyi said. “As soon as they start making connections they get Shakespeare.

Stevenson junior Troy Otis said the program has provided him a better understanding of what Shakespeare was trying to do with his work.

“This was a lot of fun. It really showed how he is current and timeless,” he said. “It has helped me to understand what Shakespeare was trying to do.”