20th Annual NYC Student Shakespeare Festival
Now entering its 20th year, CAT's NYC Student Shakespeare Festival is a unique opportunity for educators and students to celebrate the raw power and dazzling beauty of Shakespeare's work. The program is built on the belief that Shakespeare is best learned in the act of performing his words.
NYC Student Shakespeare Festival is a semester-long collaboration between teacher, student and CAT teaching artist, which includes Professional development at CAT for teachers and classroom visits from teaching artists, and culminates in the spring Festival, where classes share original stagings of Shakespeare's work.
Participating sites get:
Professional Development Fridays for Teachers - 10-15 hours of interactive, hands on professional development that prepares you to work creatively and confidently with Shakespearean text. 9AM-2PM, lunch provided - at the CUNY-Creative Arts Team, in midtown Manhattan, near all major transit lines. Workshops will be in January (new participants only), February and March (for all participating teachers).
In-Class Mentoring - CAT teaching artists visit each teacher's classroom 3 times, with support and guidance as teacher and students develop and rehearse a 5-8 minute scene.
Culminating Performance - In late April, classes from across the City present their scenes at the historic off-Broadway Lucille Lortel Theatre. Each school participates in 1 day of the 4-day festival (9am-2pm); which, along with student performances, includes Shakespeare-themed games and activities, feedback by teaching artists and peer groups, and official recognition of the strengths and/or innovations of each group’s work.
Materials - Shakespeare texts, thanks to Penguin USA; student-designed Festival t-shirts; comprehensive resource guides; DVDs/photos; CUNY Certificates of Participation.
"My students and I had a wonderful time...I have already spoken to my administration about continuing on. I was thoroughly impressed by the training, the support from the teaching artists, and the way my students grew as a result of their experience."
-First-Year Shakespeare Festival Teacher
"I've been with the Shakespeare Festival for many years, and this has been the best year yet! It amazes me that the Professional Development days and the Teaching Artists just keep getting better and better. There's always more for me to learn and try out with my students."
-Veteran Festival Teacher
To provide an original and compelling way for educators to strengthen their ability to address English Language Arts Common Core Standards and NYC Arts Education Blueprint standards. (Click here to view the Common Core and Blueprint standards)
To provide ELL and special-needs teachers with a means to offer high-expectation subject matter and strengthen students' abilities in literacy and theatre skills.
To support the integration of student-centered learning strategies into the participating teachers' fundamental approach.
To provide teachers of grades 2-12 with the tools to overcome discomfort and develop strategies for integrating Shakespeare (and other "difficult" works) into the classroom.
To complement existing school drama programs and fill a need in schools that do not have them – by providing opportunities for students to play active roles onstage, in scene development, and in stagecraft.
- To bring a worldly and high-caliber level of theatrical knowledge to participating schools.
Teachers report that CAT’s Shakespeare program helps them discover new ways of using drama as a teaching tool. They also note students’ improvement in key literacy, critical thinking, and social-emotional skills:
- Critical thinking
- Ability to work well in groups
Exploration of love, conflict, anger, and other emotions
- Understanding and appreciating dramatic text