TN Shakespeare Company and Germantown Municipal Schools Announce Partnership
Tennessee Shakespeare Company, the Mid-South's professional, classical theatre and education organization, and the Germantown Municipal School District today announced a unique, multi-year education partnership that will bring immersive, cutting-edge Shakespeare curriculum to life for every student in grades five, seven, and nine.
Starting with this school year, all GMSD fifth and seventh grade students will participate in an introductory, immersive playshop to prepare and excite them for experiencing a full, live performance of TSC's self-created production of Shakes, Rattle, and Roll. The show pays tribute to our hometown heritage, creatively linking the signature music of Memphis to the works of Shakespeare that could have inspired them.
All ninth grade students will be treated to TSC's nationally-acclaimed Romeo and Juliet Project, a four-part interactive residency that concludes with an intimate and riveting live performance of Romeo and Juliet.
The Project, originally launched at Germantown High School seven years ago and now operating in many Shelby County Schools, transforms classrooms into playing spaces to change students' expectations and reception of the material. The residency begins with three sessions that engage the students in playing three different parts of the play. The positive impact on the students' grades, compassion level, engagement in continued exploration of classical texts, and their rehearsed ability to walk away from potentially life-threatening situations in their own lives has proven quantifiable and remarkable in the scores of schools in which TSC has taught over the past eight years.
"This is very forward-looking of the Germantown Municipal School District and the City of Germantown," says TSC founder and Producing Artistic Director Dan McCleary. "The District is seeing how our children at ever younger ages desire interactivity, play, and physical communication in the educational environment. When they engage this way, children don't just test better. They also apply what they learn to their lives, they want to come to school and learn, and with Shakespeare they begin to identify their own humanity. When children act out Shakespeare's stories and discuss them, they start asking wonderful and profound questions about their place and future in our world. And this will happen for these fortunate students with classical text that is already part of the core Language Arts curriculum in the state. I am proud that Tennessee Shakespeare Company is a partner in this effort, and I am excited for the students and teachers."
GMSD is committed to providing a deeper and more challenging curriculum as it moves from teacher lectures to student-centered experiences and, ultimately, growth in learning. This new partnership will allow students in GMSD to be exposed actively to Shakespeare at a much younger age than traditional curriculums.
"We are looking forward to this unique opportunity to partner with Tennessee Shakespeare Company," says GMSD Superintendent Jason Manuel. "TSC will be providing our students with a personal connection to classical literature in the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
"We want our schools to be cutting-edge, producing 21st Century students, who are engaged in the process and performing meaningful activities because that is where we believe true learning occurs."
TSC's actors and teachers also will join the City of Germantown and Germantown Municipal School District as they open the beautiful new facility at Riverdale School and unveil their vision for the future.
The community and media are welcome to tour the state-of-the-art school with or without guides on Saturday, August 19 from 3:30-5:00 pm. During this period, all visitors may watch TSC perform excerpts from Shakes, Rattle, and Roll on the outdoor amphitheatre.
TSC will also engage students in a participatory playshop similar to the series to be provided to every student in the fifth, seventh, and ninth grades in the district. The school is located at 7391 Neshoba Road, Germantown, TN 38138.
Funding for the first year of the partnership between TSC and GMSD is generously provided by Milton T. Schaeffer and Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.
Tennessee Shakespeare Company
Tennessee Shakespeare Company is a professional 501(c)(3) theatre and education organization which performs the plays of William Shakespeare as environmental theatre seasonally; performs classical and Southern writers seasonally; and provides year-round educational and training programming. Now beginning its tenth season, Tennessee Shakespeare Company seeks to sustain a Mid-South classical theatre that both nurtures artists and encourages audiences to exaltation, curiosity, and wonderment; be a center for the community dedicated to re-discovering faith in life by increasing awareness of reality and expanding imagination through an emphasis on the performance, education, and training of William Shakespeare's works. For more information: www.tnshakespeare.org.