I seek your wise and learned counsel, please, How I might best adapt my modest plays Unto conventions of the modern day: Or Shakespeare Goes to High School
School of Communications
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Social and Behavioral Sciences
The Grand Valley Shakespeare Festivals award-winning Bard to Go (BTG) Touring Program takes Shakespearean scenes to Michigan high schools in order to engage 21st century student audiences with the beauty and relevance of Shakespeares plays in provocative and fun ways. Based on the belief that Shakespeare is truly cultural capital and a vital foundation for those who study the English language, BTG offers not an abbreviated play, but rather a collage of scenes woven together through theme and a contemporary conceit. For example, the 2014 BTG production follows William Shakespeare on an adventure to modern-day Hollywood, where movie-industry insiders work to improve his plays with vampires, light sabers, and reality TV settings. In its 14 year history the variety of frameworks has included The Breakfast Club, magic, and video gaming. Over 13,000 students throughout Michigan have had the opportunity to experience Shakespeare in this way, and the program has also toured in Italy, the Czech Republic, the Bahamas, Jamaica, China, and Canada. This paper explores the challenges of depicting Shakespeares work in nontraditional fashions for secondary school audiences while maintaining the integrity of text and content. Is BTG Shakespeare-lite and therefore undesirable? Does the program honor Shakespeares work, so innovative and appealing to 17th century audiences, by also innovating it? Can approaches such as these excite young people about Shakespeare and counter the preciousness and elitism often associated with its study? The presentation will also include some audience participation and video clips.
Popular and American Culture Studies Many Faces, Many Voices: Intersecting Borders in Popular and American Culture Conference
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Libman, Karen, "I seek your wise and learned counsel, please, How I might best adapt my modest plays Unto conventions of the modern day: Or Shakespeare Goes to High School" (2015). Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants. 530.
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