Our project will bring professional actors as artists in residence to Kelloggsville High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to rehearse and perform Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors alongside a cast of high school actors. The professional actors will act as mentors to the students. Performances of the play will reach the school's entire student body, and the resident actors will also conduct classroom workshops in the school's English classes.
Many schools in Michigan have experienced significant budget cuts and arts programming is often one of the first things cut. Students at many high schools do not have access to live theatre performance. At the same time, Shakespeare's plays are a part of Michigan's state standards for secondary students, and students of both English and Theatre would benefit from access to live performances of Shakespeare's plays.
This project not only brings live performance of Shakespeare to a West Michigan high school, it involves the students in performance. 5 professional actors will be in residence at Kelloggsville High School for 6 weeks, rehearsing and performing The Comedy of Errors with a cast of the school's students, mentoring the student actors and conducting workshops on Shakespeare's language and the history of Shakespearean theatre.
The residency program offers benefits to students of theatre and those who do not have previous acting experience. Learning to analyze Shakespearean language greatly increases students' reading comprehension and language skills. Live performance improves students' confidence and public speaking skills. The experience of rehearsing and performing a play teaches students time management, self-discipline, teamwork, and cooperation.