"Thank you, again, for a great day at the Stratford Festival. For many of my students, this is the first professional theater they have ever seen. It is always my hope that they get ‘wowed’ and this year was a huge success. They also found the play accessible and provocative. The post-show discussions have proved that. This has been an annual experience for our department and one that we plan to continue for a very long time."
Kyle A. LoConti
Niagara County Community College
"To all the staff and performers at Stratford's Avon Theatre, we at Assumption College School wish to say thank you for the wonderful time we had this past Friday. It was wonderful to 'bring alive' the curriculum we are studying this semester in Shakespeare's Othello.
My students all had wonderful comments about the total experience -- and this was very satisfying for me, as their teacher. I have not taken a group of students on trips like this in several years, so their enthusiasm was gratifying. It inspires me to want to take them again. For several, it was their first trip to Stratford, and for many others, their first experience with live theatre.
Thank you, thank you, and thank you again. I can't wait to visit again."
Mary Anne Creechan
Assumption College School
"The students thoroughly enjoyed the visit to Stratford and the Festival Theatre production of "The Merchant of Venice." The instructors of our program accomplished what we were hoping to accomplish. I was especially impressed and pleased with the supporting material in guiding the border crossing and the educational support materials, like the activities for understanding and responding to the plays.
We will actually be calling within a week or so to arrange another group outing for an October production. We'll be back!"
David L. Keller, D. Min
"To whom it may concern:
Just wanted to let you know how absolutely terrific the performance of Fiddler on the Roof on Sunday, June 23rd was for us.
Valley Heights' Turning Point had the pleasure of taking 53 staff and students to see Fiddler on the Roof. Turning Point is an alternative education program that serves primarily Low German Mennonite students whose parents do not approve of secular secondary school education. Our program is based on independent study and cooperative education to meet the cultural needs of this specific group. None of these students had ever experienced live theatre before so they came with no prior knowledge nor any expectations.
If only you could have seen and heard their reactions...at intermission several of them looked at me with wide eyes asking if it was over. When I explained to them that it was only a break, they were relieved and excited that the story would continue. The story is one that they can relate to so well - from the dress, the cultural tensions, the faith and the traditions - it was as if they were seeing their own story told. It was especially poignant for the ENG2P students who had studied a play written by a group of local Low German Mennonites entitled Mennonite: Faith and Tradition.
We were able to take them on a Sunday because it is their only day off during the week - and it was the best Sunday I've enjoyed in a long time.
On behalf of all of the students who thanked me, I extend a HUGE thank YOU for allowing us to make this happen. The group sales staff were so accommodating and helpful. Even when I called at the last moment to adjust one more ticket, they obliged graciously. It was truly a wonderful experience that I really don't know how to top in the future. Again -thank you for providing us with this experience at such a helpful rate - you have enriched their lives by doing so."
Valley Heights Turning Point Secondary School
"Students at Hawthorne Village have been participating in the Teaching Shakespeare School for the past six years. By attending the invaluable summer workshop sessions our team of teachers always comes back to school in September refreshed, inspired and equipped to bring Shakespeare to life for our elementary students. Working with professional actors exposed us to new ways to bring Shakespeare to life in our classrooms. The themes explored by Shakespeare have not expired over time and it is so important to get our students invested in them.
This program has helped me create a safe place for my students to explore and experience themes such as racism, bullying, hate, love, power and social justice through drama. Its applications to everyday life for young people is limitless. Seeing my students, eyes wide with wonder, staring up at the stage during their first visit to a professional theatre reminds me of how important it is to reinforce the arts in their lives. Thank-you to everyone at Stratford who has made this program possible."
Hawthorne Village Public School
"The 'Teaching Shakespeare School', offered by the Stratford Festival, has made a significant impact on the students who have been in my classes over the past 8 years. The most noticeable change has been the attitude shift concerning the idea of Shakespeare. Students in my school no longer dread studying Shakespeare as they don't think of these units as 'learning' they think about 'doing' Shakespeare. Over the years they have 'done' many variations of well known tragedies to obscure comedies. I have had classes take on the task of a full production twice, which was completely the student's choice. Blocking, prop and set building, dancing, creating costumes and memorizing the play were definitely NOT required elements but they accomplished all of these things with the help of their teacher/artists.
Recently, I had a senior class who were so entrenched in TSS methodology that they (in groups of 2) became the teachers and lead the rest of the class in an hour long workshop about their play. Last year my class performed a flashmob of a scene from 'Much Ado' in the Festival Theatre lobby during intermission--bucket list material for sure. I try to continually stress the 'On your feet, language in your mouth' ideology and ithas been liberating because students at FJ McElligott no longer sit and read Shakespeare; they 'do' it. And TSS has made that possible."
F.J. McElligott Secondary School
"My kids absolutely loved the Shakespeare program. And I loved teaching it. I had parents tell me that the kids were asking them at intermission if they understood what was happening, and if not,they could explain it to the parents!!! Amazing! This program is so phenomenal,and I was so grateful to be a part of it! I already have younger kids asking when they get to learn about "the guy on the poster" (I have a Shakespeare poster)."
Dunwich Dutton Public School