Gamm's MACBETH PROJECT Plays to Over 500 Students
The Sandra Feinstein-Gamm Theatre (The Gamm) Education Department has concluded its "Macbeth Project," which has been augmenting standard curriculum with dynamic teaching tools at 12 area middle- and high schools since November. The collaboration between Gamm teaching artists and educators in select Pawtucket, Central Falls and Providence public and charter schools has served more than 500 students. The project was supported by a prestigious $25,000 Shakespeare in American Communities grant managed by Arts Midwest in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).
The grant allowed more than 445 students from participating "Macbeth Project" classes to attend a weekday matinee performance of The Gamm's production of Macbeth free of charge or at a significantly reduced cost. It also helped pay for accompanying in-school residencies, workshops and post-performance discussions. Gamm teaching artists, including Education Director Steve Kidd and Education and Outreach Coordinator Susie Schutt, conducted 5-10 week units in 20 classrooms. Many of those classrooms performed an abridged version of the play for fellow students and family members at the conclusion of their units. Additionally, students from four participating schools presented portions of their plays for each other in a final gathering at Nathan Bishop Middle School in Providence on April 14. Students were also invited to make 15-second videos of themselves performing lines from the play on Instagram. The contributions were compiled into a video that spans the entire play.
To match the Shakespeare for a New Generation grant, The Gamm turned to the community. More than 130 households donated to the "Macbeth Project." Efforts were greatly assisted by a surprise challenge from Gamm patrons Michael Achey and Susan Thomas of Easton, Mass., who donated an additional $5 for every $10 raised until the $25,000 total was successfully reached.
"Susan and I are particularly looking for ways to support exposing youth...to experiences outside their cultural norms," said Michael Achey. "The Gamm's production of Macbeth combined a modern setting and costumes with historically representative language, the viewing of which brings a modern sensibility to a set of ancient conflicts. Perhaps one or more of the children will be inspired to creative things!"
Participating "Macbeth Project" schools included: Blackstone Academy Charter School, Central Falls High School, Charles E. Shea Senior High, Classical High School, CVS Highlander Charter School, Jacqueline Walsh School for the Arts, Nathan Bishop Middle School, Paul Cuffee School, Roger Williams Middle School, Samuel Slater Junior High, Urban Collaborative Accelerated Program, William E. Tolman Senior High.