Friday, October 18, 2019

#NEShakesEDTalks: A day in the life - Othello On Tour

Shakespeare On Tour travels to schools across the state, reaching thousands of students with performances and educational activities. Did you ever wonder what a day in the life of an actor for Shakespeare On Tour looks like?

In this week's video, we're sitting down with the cast of Othello On Tour to learn just that! Take a look!

Othello On Tour is a part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest!

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Thank you for supporting Shakespeare On Tour!

Studying Shakespeare is required curriculum for students across the region. For many students, this is an unapproachable and daunting feat.

Shakespeare On Tour was created 14 years ago with a mission to change that! 
Henry leading students through an acting workshop
Through dynamic performances and engaging, active lesson-plans that make learning about Shakespeare’s timeless works fun and accessible, thousands of students across the state are turned into Shakespeare experts in their own right. And this season, because of your support, the program will reach its 100,000th student!

While sharing this year's play, Othello, with the students is a lot of fun, the hands-down best part of traveling to communities across the region is the conversations we get to be a part of and the one-on-one connections we get to make with students and families. 

Shaan giving a behind-the-scenes look for design and technology students
...and then becoming fast-BFF's with our youngest load-out helper, Hollister!

We're getting to meet so many amazing people, learn their stories, and create some stories of our own with them!

Hannah and the cast welcoming students to a performance of Othello

We wanted to share one of those stories with you today:

From Hannah Clark, an actor-educator playing Brabantio in Othello:
"We had an amazing workshop today. It started even before the students arrived, our contact teacher told us that the school had cut all theatre and speech classes, and so she now lead the one-act as an extra curricular. She described her students as very timid, saying "I can hardly get them to raise their arms!"
Once the workshop began, we fielded any talk-back questions that students didn't get to ask. One girl raised her hand and explained that she had advanced visual impairment, and she asked us to describe the set, because she couldn't see it. 
We described it to her, and she was so excited to get the chance to 'see' the show through us. Over the course of the workshop she really impressed us with her perspective and willingness to jump in. During one of our sound & movement exercises, we realized she couldn't receive the eye contact confirmation for passing the energy. So we made a modification where we included her name if anyone was passing to her. 
She also impressed me afterwards during the 'three take-aways' portion of the game by saying, "In theatre you have to be ready for anything, and it's especially true for me. I have to be really aware on stage, and so do the people around me." She thanked us for teaching a new game that focused on listening to each other, but was also goofy and fun. 
At the end of the workshop, she approached Roshni and I and asked to talk about our roles. She shared that when listening to a play she focuses on vocal traits that each player has, like slurring words or dropping "t's" and that's how she differentiates characters. She said we were all so clear that now that she heard our "casual" voices, she didn't quite know who we played! So we shared our characters and had an interesting conversation about the show from a seeing-impaired perspective. I could've talked with her all day! 
But my main takeaway from the whole group was the overwhelming gratitude they shared that we came. They said since there's no program for theatre, they felt very lucky to have someone talk genuinely with them about acting, and they loved learning new games to play together. Our contact was so appreciative that we treated all her students as equals while encouraging them to expand their comfort zones. 
So yeah! What a day. Thank you for trusting us to go into these schools and make today someone's favorite day."
Students asked Roshni and Hannah to pose for photos after workshops in Alliance!

THANK YOU to all of the supporters of Nebraska Shakespeare that make this tour possible.  We are on our way to matching the funds from the National Endowment for the Arts that support this program.

If you would like to support Nebraska Shakespeare On Tour, you can make a secure online donation HERE

And if you want to catch one of our final public performances of Othello, click HERE to find a performance near you!

#NEShakesEdTalks: Pre-show Preparations

You actors out there know there's A LOT that goes into getting ready for a performance, from getting into costume and makeup, to stretching, running lines, and vocal warm-ups.  But what happens when you're also touring your performance?  What's the same?  What's different?

Take a look into the pre-show prep for Othello On Tour in this week's #NEShakesEDTalks video!

Othello On Tour is part of Shakespeare in American Communities, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.
Join us every Thursday for a new video about Shakespeare, theatre, and 21st century life.

Click HERE for more information on Shakespeare On Tour: Othello!