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Shakespeare Dallas Gets 25 Grand NEA Grant
by Jerome Weeks 22 Aug 2012

It’s for ‘the Macbeth Project,’ which sounds ominous enough but is actually a two-part program involving underserved DISD students that ends with them attending a live performance of Macbeth.

CTA TBD

The Macbeth Project? Introducing children to witchcraft? Well, yes, sort of, but you know, the Witches in Macbeth (left) are certainly not presented as happy, ideal figures — no one you’d want to emulate, what with all that living outdoors on the heath, “killing swine” and hovering through the “fog and filthy air.”

Actually, the Macbeth Project will bring Speak the Speech a 50-minute, interactive classroom compilation of Shakespeare’s scenes and sonnets — to 10 DISD schools. It’s part of Shakespeare Dallas’ educational program, Shakespeare on the Go! This will be targeting some 1,500 students at each school, and each school is a Title 1 school — meaning it’s officially classed a high poverty with students who are at-risk of falling behind academically, the kind of school where arts education is typically not a priority.

The classroom program, intended to aid the students’ language arts, is also a prelude for the real deal. Within a week of the classroom program, Shakespeare Dallas will bus the students to attend a performance of Macbeth at Shakespeare in the Park.

The full release follows:

The Macbeth Project Debuts at 10 Local Schools

Shakespeare Dallas earns grant from National Endowment for the Arts

DALLAS (August 21, 2012) – A grant awarded to Shakespeare Dallas by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) gives underserved children in the Metroplex the chance to experience Shakespeare in some cases for the first time. The newly formed Macbeth Project is made possible by the $25,000 grant accompanying the Shakespeare in American Communities: Shakespeare for a New Generation designation given to Shakespeare Dallas by the NEA.

The Macbeth Project comprises two programs; one in the classroom, and one out of the classroom. Shakespeare on the Go!, Shakespeare Dallas’ educational program, will bring Speak the Speech: Shakespeare and the Spoken Word to 10 Title I Dallas ISD high schools, serving a total of 1,500 students at each school. And after the classroom portion of the program is complete, these students will be taken to Shakespeare in the Park to see a live production of Macbeth.

“Title I schools are high poverty schools where students are behind academically or at risk of falling behind,” said Shakespeare Dallas’ Artistic Director, Raphael Parry. “With funding for arts being cut left and right, the low income schools tend to be hit the hardest. We’re grateful that the National Endowment for the Arts’ grant allows us to provide this type of experience to children who otherwise may never get to experience the art of Shakespeare.”

Speak the Speech: Shakespeare and the Spoken Word is a compilation of Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets designed to teach students in grades 6-12 lessons of language arts. This program uses a mixture of scenes and interactive exercises in order to bring the text to life and allow students to try hands-on exercises to fully understand Shakespeare’s works. Short performances include scenes from Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Twelfth Night, and drama exercises focus on literary elements including character development and themes, along with drama components including costume history and fight chorography.

Within a week following the in-school programming, Shakespeare Dallas will bus students from each school to Shakespeare in the Park to see a professional production of Macbeth, as performed this fall by Shakespeare Dallas in Addison Circle.  After each performance, Parry and two actors from the production will provide a talk-back, allowing students and teachers to ask questions about the play. “This program will not only prepare students for the production of Macbeth, but it will also give them tools to study and enjoy Shakespeare in the future,” added Parry.

For more information about educational programs offered by Shakespeare Dallas, contact Julie Osborne, Education and Marketing Associate, at [email protected] or 214-559-2778.

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About Shakespeare Dallas

Inspired by the egalitarian nature of the New York Shakespeare Festival, Robert “Bob” Glenn started The Shakespeare Festival of Dallas in 1971 as a free summer Shakespeare Festival. The company serves the community as one of North Texas’ most treasured cultural institutions and the area’s only producer of an education program focused on teaching Shakespeare. In 2005, the company revamped its operations and branded the organization “Shakespeare Dallas” to illustrate the company’s new direction of year-round, affordable and accessible programming. Shakespeare Dallas aspires to use the works of William Shakespeare as a catalyst for creating unparalleled artistic and educational programs that are meaningful and enriching for the community it serves throughout North Texas. For more information, visit http://www.shakespearedallas.org.

About the National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. For more information, visit www.arts.gov.

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