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Shakespeare & Company's Fall Festival Common Classes Begin

Shakespeare & Company's acclaimed Fall Festival of Shakespeare is back, bringing together over 500 middle and high school students to explore Shakespeare, creativity, and teamwork. Ten schools are represented in this year's Festival, coming from the Berkshires, Pioneer Valley, and eastern New York State. The nationally recognized program begins with a boisterous series of four Common Classes where hundreds of teenagers from each school come together for workshops in Stage Combat, Dance and Movement, Technical Theatre and Performance Preparation. The Festival's culmination is a four-day performance marathon from November 21-24 where the students share and celebrate their work together.

"Imagine a program that is open to every student in 10 area high schools: a program where students love working together, working cooperatively and creatively on a project that is academically rigorous, physically demanding and imaginatively challenging," said Director of Education, Kevin G. Coleman. "Imagine the energy and excitement that happens when the program is designed to never be a competition between students or even between the 10 schools, but as a celebration of each person's contribution, imagination and courage, and each school's production. This is the model of the Fall Festival of Shakespeare, and it's been going on for 31 years. Come see what happens when students become passionate and help each other succeed."

The Fall Festival is a nationally recognized program that places Shakespeare & Company Education Artists in ten local and regional schools, where they lead students in a nine-week exploration of a Shakespeare play, and end with a series of performances, first at their respective schools, and then at Shakespeare & Company's Tina Packer Playhouse in a non-competitive festival setting. Built on the transformative power of Shakespeare's language and stories, the Fall Festival engages students in a personally meaningful and educationally rigorous experience of classical theatre. Students participate in all aspects of producing a Shakespeare play: running the light board, building sets, publicity, costumes, stage management, performance and more.

In recent years, the Shakespeare & Company education department has been working towards replicating the Fall Festival of Shakespeare across the United States and in Country's around the world. In the Company's recently published Strategic Plan, goals for the department included, "replicating the Fall Festival of Shakespeare throughout the Commonwealth and exploring the potential
for national and global replication."

"Shakespeare & Company's dream has always been to take the model of our Fall Festival to a national audience," said Jennie M. Jadow Education Programs Manager. "We would like to have this celebration of Shakespeare's language and students exuberance available to as many schools as possible. This program already exists in multiple cities in America: in Portland, OR, Atlanta, GA, Greencastle, IN, and there are developing projects in Long Island, Pennsylvania, and New Haven. With Festival Directors coming from California, Louisiana, Australia and Israel, we're planning to replicate this model in more schools nationally and begin to effect schools internationally. To see this model put into action in other communities is both exciting and deeply satisfying."

The ten schools participating in the 2019 Fall Festival of Shakespeare include Berkshire Waldorf High School, Chatham High School (New York), Lee High School, Lenox Memorial High School, Monument Mountain Regional High School, Mount Everett Regional High School, Mount Greylock Regional High School, Springfield Central High School, Taconic High School, and Taconic Hills High School (New York). This year's directors include: Dana Harrison, Dara Brown, David Bertoldi, Devante Owens, Diana Evans, Ellie Bartz, Gregory Boover, Jake Merriman, JoJo McDonald, Kirsten Peacock, Kirstin Leigh Daniel, Lezlie Lee, Liliana Macarone, Lori Evans, Luke Haskell, Madeleine Maggio, Noa Egozi, Rory Hammond, Tom Jaeger, and Zoe Wohlfeld.

In a spirit of celebration students perform their plays for each other and public in a four-day festival at the Tina Packer Playhouse from Thursday, November 21 through Sunday, November 24. Tickets for performances are $16 for Adults and $10 for students, and passes for the full Festival are $80 for Adults and $35 for Students. The $4 service fee is waived for all Fall Festival tickets and Passes Tickets are now on sale and are available online at, or by calling the Shakespeare & Company Box Office at (413) 637-3353.

The Fall Festival of Shakespeare is made possible with funding from the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation, the Cornelia T. Bailey Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Janey Fund, and the Local Cultural Councils-supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency-of Lee, Lenox, New Marlborough, Northern Berkshire, Richmond, Sheffield, Springfield, Stockbridge, and Tyringham; as well as many other individuals and local businesses.

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