We’re now in the midst of the holiday season filled with sweet treats, Secret Santa parties, and fun festivities as 2017 comes to a close. It’s the perfect time to reflect on this year that’s quickly winding down.
Best part of 2017 for me? Easy. A fall working as a teaching artist and actor with Tennessee Shakespeare Company (TSC).
Romeo and Juliet Project
While I’ve worked with TSC for a year, this fall was my first time to engage with Shelby County students as a teaching artist for the Romeo and Juliet Project. RJP is a nationally acclaimed residency for Memphis Schools dedicated to exploring the text with students how Shakespeare intended—by speaking, acting, and hearing Romeo and Juliet aloud. We use this experience to rehearse and discuss non-violent responses to conflict and have reached over 5,000 freshmen within an academic year. For more info, check out the video from last year’s R&J Project here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjwJppSx1LQ&feature=youtu.be
Watching students connect with the text is an amazing testament to how relevant this story remains after hundreds of years. Although I taught students, I learned so much myself as I gained more compassion, empathy, and understanding through the work.
Getting Them Reps In (Repertory, that is)
In addition to my work as a teaching artist, I also performed with my fellow cast mates for TSC’s first repertory experience during the Shout out Shakespeare series. TSC provided free performances of Julius Caesar, Romeo and Juliet, and Shakes, Rattle, and Roll, a Shakespeare review using Memphis music. I loved performing Romeo and Juliet and Julius Caesar to so many people of all ages and in so many different locations including the Germantown Library, the Collierville Town Square, and Overton Square Pavilion (my fave).
Yup, it’s been a busy fall working with one of my favorite theatre companies. The experience has changed my life, made me a better person, and included too much fun with generous artists. (Also, playing with swords during a 9 to 5 workday? Yes, Please.)
For more information about getting involved with TSC, visit https://www.tnshakespeare.org and check out their latest show “Waiting for Godot” at the Dixon Art Galleries December 7-17!
Until Next Time,