Introducing Shakespeare, Classroom by Classroom

I’ve been bringing my Staunton River High School English students to the Blackfriars Playhouse at least once each year since 2006, though there have been some years when we’ve made multiple trips!  Our first trip in 2006 was to see Romeo and Juliet and just today I introduced to my students the field trip for this year, which will also be Romeo and Juliet.  I am so excited myself to revisit one of my favorites!

Students from Staunton River High School in front of the Blackfriars Playhouse.

Students from Staunton River High School in front of the Blackfriars Playhouse.

Over the years, our groups have ranged in size from ten to almost 100, and we’ve seen both tragedies and comedies.  Our school is about a two-hour drive from Staunton and there have been times when we’ve barely made it to Staunton in time (one year the cast played an extra song to give us time to be seated) and also times when we’ve barely made it back to school in time (we’ve had to hold our buses to allow the kids on the trip to catch their afternoon bus), but I continue to work through these struggles to give kids what I regard as a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

I think what I love most about ASC is sharing with my students how your actors bring Shakespeare’s words to life in a way that most of them have never experienced.  They truly GET the jokes when the actors add vocal inflections to emphasize certain words and physical movements that illustrate those words, and I so enjoy seeing them laugh hysterically and really understand the humor!

Personally I have also made multiple trips to Staunton to see productions with my family and friends.  My husband and I have celebrated two anniversaries with overnight trips and last winter our children enjoyed seeing A Christmas Carol live for the first time.  Where else in the world can a modern soundtrack including Psy and Beyonce work with a Charles Dickens classic?

Thank you, ASC, for doing what you do and doing it so very well!

– Shannon Thomas

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