During the 2012-2013 school year, Brown Middle School has participated in a partnership with the Atlanta Shakespeare Company. In October, teachers had the opportunity to take 7th and 8th grade Gifted & Talented Academy students at Brown and students from the Boys and Girls Academies to see a performance of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth.
“Viewing a live production was an inspiring experience for all the students,” said Jennifer Hall, a Gifted & Talented Academy Language Arts Teacher at Brown.
Many of the students in attendance read a middle school version of the play during their final project for 6th grade. As part of the Gifted & Talented Academy’s curriculum, students read middle school versions of Shakespeare plays, create re-writes and film their own productions. Students in Jennifer Hall’s 7th and 8th grade classes read Othello and Hamlet respectfully.
This month, the Atlanta Shakespeare Company conducted playshops in preparation for a performance by Washington High School. Actors from the company worked with students on scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, demonstrating acting techniques, voice projection and understanding the storyline. Students worked in small groups to prepare two scenes from the play that were then presented in a mini-play. The goal of the playshop was two-fold: to provide experience with Shakespeare in an exciting and interactive environment and to prepare for the high school performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The culminating experience for the students was attending Washington High School’s performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The high school students participated in an intensive eight-week program with the Atlanta Shakespeare Company. Students from Brown Middle School were treated to a private matinee performance. The students were in awe of the high school production.
“The students found the Washington performance humorous, engaging and authentic,” Hall explained. “Many students commented on how impressed they were that the high school actors had memorized so many lines, and the production inspired my students for our upcoming Shakespeare projects.”
The partnership with the Atlanta Shakespeare Company has been invaluable and Brown Middle School looks forward to continuing this opportunity.
Written by Jennifer Hall, Gifted & Talented Academy Language Arts Teacher, Brown Middle School