PUTNEY—The seventh- and eighth-grade students at The Grammar School in Putney will perform scenes from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 6:30 p.m. The show is free and open to the public.
This production is the culmination of an intensive artist residency with Vermont teaching artist John Hadden, an accomplished actor and director. This residency was made possible by a generous grant from the Vermont Arts Council.
Hadden is a founding member of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Mass., co-founder of Counterpoint Theater in Boston, artistic director of the Hubbard Hall Theater Company in Cambridge, N.Y., and associate artist with We Players in San Francisco. He has also worked with New England Youth Theatre in Brattleboro and Main Street Arts in Saxtons River.
All 22 students in the seventh and eighth grades have a speaking role in the play, and students are also working as stage managers, costume designers, lighting technicians, and sound board operators.
Teachers are incorporating what the students have learned into the school’s English curriculum to ensure that the experience is an integral part of their broader education.
“John Hadden encourages The Grammar School students to be involved, focused, and willing to take risks and grow as a member of their class studying Twelfth Night,” said Laurie Fichter, English teacher for the seventh and eighth grades, in a news release. “As cast members, the students at TGS have demonstrated enthusiasm and commitment to learning lines, taking direction, and understanding the meaning of this Shakespearean play.”
Hadden, who is the director of this production, says, “Twelfth Night is a playful comedy about mistaken identities, spurned lovers, shipwrecks, and dirty tricks. Shakespeare’s work was meant to be seen: performed by actors, combined with movement and expression to allow the actors and audience to witness the characters’ emotions, motivations and relationships in a dynamic way.”
The younger students at The Grammar School, from pre-school through sixth grade, will also have an opportunity to learn about Shakespeare by attending a performance of Twelfth Night during the school day.
The Grammar School has a decades-long tradition of theater education through its annual musical put on by the seventh- and eighth-grade classes. In spring 2019, the school will present Guys and Dolls.