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Students for Shakespeare brings the classroom to the theatre

Student participants in programming for the All's Well That Ends Well show in 2010

Searching for a fun, educational, free field trip for your classroom or group of grade school students? Look no further than Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Students for Shakespeare program.  Through Students for Shakespeare, children are able to see the Free For All production of William Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well with priority reservations and bonus programming.

STC will be staging two matinee performances on September 4 and 5 specifically for students, after which they will have the opportunity to ask a panel of cast members questions about the show. Each student will also receive a Play Guide which includes fun activities like word searches and crosswords.

Marcy Spiro, Community Engagement Manager at STC, leads group discussions for the students by posing questions such as “Do you think at the end of the play when Helena and Bertram reunite that they will live happily ever after?” She remarked that student responses to these prompts often result in lively debate and inquiry.

“The majority of questions are impressive and insightful,” Spiro said.

Both students with theatre background and first time theatre-goers have appreciated past Free For All performances. Jen Hinrichs took students from Oak View Elementary School to last season’s Free For All performance of Julius Caesar:

“For them to be able to see the full-length version, performed professionally, was a tremendous experience,” Hinrichs said. “Both my 11- and 8-year-old sons were engrossed in the play from beginning to end.”

Michelle Harmon, from the Foundations Program, chaperoned students at a performance of Twelfth Night during the 2008-2009 Season:

“The students of the Foundations Program really enjoyed the performance of Twelfth Night last night.  For many of them, it was [their] first theatre experience as well as giving them the opportunity to see that just because it is Shakespeare, it does not have to be boring. “

The Students for Shakespeare program has provided over 11,600 students and their families with Free For All tickets since its inception in 1996. This year, STC expects its greatest number yet; with 1,500 tickets available for students and their group leaders during the two matinee programs, plus another 300 tickets during the course of the Free For All, STC will potentially serve 1,800 people through the program.

Title I schools are eligible to receive a stipend for transportation. Tickets are still available for the 10 a.m. matinee performances on September 4 and 5.  Groups who have participated in the past consist of school groups, home school groups, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, family book clubs, Shakespeare societies and theatre clubs. This play is recommended for audiences ages 12 and up. For consideration, email SFS@ShakespeareTheatre.org or contact the Shakespeare Theatre Company Education Hotline at 202.547.5688.

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