Funded! This project was successfully funded on October 28, 2012.

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Bring Shakespeare to life for over 150 St. Louis city students through METROYOUTH SHAKESPEARE!

Bring Shakespeare to life for over 150 St. Louis city students through METROYOUTH SHAKESPEARE!

Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has had twelve successful years creating some of the most innovative Education Programs in our city.  Now, we are launching two exciting new opportunities through our METROYOUTH SHAKESPEARE program featuring students from all over our area.   Beginning January 2013, SFSTL will partner with five schools to create a new work based on ROMEO AND JULIET that deals with the challenges kids face today with bullying.  The commissioned play, WINNING JULIET, is about the fierce competition for the role of Juliet in a high school production, and will be inspired by the voices of St. Louis teens!   The students will rehearse the play and then perform it for 1500 peers AND the audience at SHAKE38, our April 2013 in-the-streets initiative celebrating all 38 plays in Shakespeare’s canon with community productions and adaptations.  

A second group of students from seven schools will get a chance to perform a version of SFSTL’s free summer main-stage production, TWELFTH NIGHT, spending a semester exploring the play - and developing several scenes with our professional Teaching Artists.  They will then come together for a weekend of fun, bringing the full production together for SHAKE38.  METROYOUTH SHAKESPEARE performances of TWELFTH NIGHT will take place April 20 & 21 and April 27 - May 4.

Sounds cool, huh?  Here’s the challenge.  We need you to help us get METROYOUTH SHAKESPEARE off the ground and into the hands of St. Louis students. Our goal is to raise $10,000 in 20 days!  Please donate today so we can keep students engaged in this dynamic teacher-supported program. Teachers around the city tell us it is THE BEST ONE OUT THERE! 

“I believe that METROYOUTH is one of the best things that Shakespeare Festival St. Louis does; in fact, I think it is one of the best things going on in St. Louis theatre education." - Robert Henke, Professor of Drama and Comparative Literature, Washington University

“Lamont, a 2011 graduate of Cahokia School District, told me he truly believes that he would have never graduated from high school if it wasn’t for Shakespeare Festival St. Louis." - Rebecca M. Carriel, Drama Club Sponsor, Cahokia High School

“METROYOUTH is a great service to students because of the high artistic caliber, the training it gives in literature analysis and classical performance, and the opportunity it gives students to meet other kids from different schools, cultures and backgrounds.” - Kelley Anderson Weber, Director of Theatre, Clayton High School

SFSTL serves more and more people in the region each year.  Last season’s OTHELLO played for a record-breaking 66,000 people in Forest Park.  Another 40,000 children benefited from our education programming.  SFSTL has further increased its reach through a surge in community programming with projects such as SHAKE38, in which Shakespeare’s full canon is performed around St. Louis in a five-day marathon.  Shakespeare in the Streets is program in which one of Shakespeare’s works is adapted to tell the story of a St. Louis neighborhood.  

Help us keep our programming moving ahead with METROYOUTH SHAKESPEARE by donating TODAY!

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The challenges that come with implementing and completing METROYOUTH SHAKESPEARE are - ultimately - what make the project so worthwhile and include:

- Many of the schools we work with have no drama program, making SFSTL programming the only theatrical experience students have during a school year. SFSTL Teaching Artists are charged with helping the students develop the vocabulary, skills, technique, and discipline necessary to create a new work - often for the very first time.

- Transportation during the final week to the performance venue is sometimes problematic, so we need to offer assistance to some students so they may participate.

- Each school is academically different, therefore requiring additional project time and planning, including individual scheduling and curricular development so we may align with classroom and after-school needs.

- Among the participating schools, there is a wide range of familiarity with Shakespeare - each school is different and has different needs. Some students are strong actors - some are strong readers - some are beginners - and some are advanced in their theatre experience - it is our job to help them learn to work together as an ensemble.

- There is a wide range of cultural diversity and socio-economic variance in the schools we will work with in the program. This purposeful variety presents a challenge but is ultimately the most profound element of learning and personal growth for the students. They find a common goal of creative artistry with people from all backgrounds and ethnicities. METROYOUTH SHAKESPEARE builds an ensemble in which everyone feels important, accomplished, and part of the event. Everyone becomes a part of a successful community of creative artists.

- Staging a curtain call with 100 + students so the hard work of the group can be celebrated - and everyone can enjoy their STANDING OVATION! (We are good at that - promise.)

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