On Tuesday, March 1, forty teachers from five New Jersey counties assembled at Two River Theater in Red Bank, for a full-day Teaching Shakespeare Workshop sponsored by the Washington, DC-based Folger Shakespeare Library.
The workshop was underwritten jointly by the Princeton and Monmouth County Branches of The English-Speaking Union, with generous support from Two River Theater’s Kate Cordaro, Director of Education, and John Dias, Artistic Director. It was one of many educational programs being offered in 2016 to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
During the workshop, two members of the Folger Teacher Corps — Josh Cabat (a Folger Master Teacher from Roslyn, NY) and Kimberly Dickstein (a Folger Teacher, from Haddonfield, NJ) — took the entire group to the stage of Two River’s Joan and Robert Rechnitz Theater, and led them through a wide variety of dynamic ways of bringing Shakespeare to life in the classroom.
As the day came to a close, the participants became a troupe of actors themselves; blocking and acting out Shakespearean scenes to the appreciative cheers and applause of their fellow players. To conclude the workshop, they all shared in an oral assessment of what they had learned, and their comments were uniformly enthusiastic.
Margaret McDonald (Holmdel High School) recent recipient of an ESU scholarship from the Princeton Branch for summer study at Edinburgh University, stated, “The Folger Workshop convinced me that teaching Shakespeare through performance is the way to place student center stage in the classroom—where they belong!”