Written by Megan Solberg
Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan Live! brings Shakespeare’s plays to the classroom for elementary and high school students across Saskatchewan through live performances and collaborative workshops. In doing so, SOTS facilitates direct interaction between workshop presenters and students, inspiring the next generation of performers and audience members through interactive artistic and learning experiences.
Daria, 13, will be starting high school in the fall, and she enthusiastically professes a long-standing love of Shakespeare and theatre. Jocelyn, 17, is currently a senior at Bethlehem Catholic High School who plans to pursue further education at the University of Saskatchewan in the fall. Like Daria, she has always admired Shakespeare’s work, and she was happy to have the opportunity through Shakespeare Live! to share that interest with her classmates. K+S Potash Canada talked to Daria and Jocelyn about their love of Shakespeare and their experience with Shakespeare Live! workshops.
D: I’ve been seeing shows from Shakespeare in Saskatchewan for about 5 years, and I started seeing these presentations around 3 years ago.
J: I participated in the Shakespeare Live Workshop during class time, which was about an hour long.
A: I absolutely love his work – I’ve been reading it for years. I also find acting to be fun, so this was the perfect combination.
J: It was more like the program came to me – which was really quite convenient – when it visited my class. From the moment I started reading Romeo and Juliet in my first year of high school, I was entranced with the language Shakespeare wrote in, and I’ve always loved its authentic, romantic feel.
J: Usually I’m one of the only people who gets interested in Shakespeare’s pieces, so I really enjoyed that this workshop was able to get many people involved, and I also enjoyed the workshops ability to simplify the confusing ways in which Shakespeare often wrote when we compare it to the language we’re used to speaking.
D: I think Antony and Cleopatra is my favourite Shakespearean play because it’s so rarely mentioned. It’s just as beautiful and depressing as Romeo and Juliet, but no one ever mentions it. I love the story and the way it ends – and I’ve never heard of it being done in real life.
J: I quite enjoyed when I read The Taming of the Shrew because it was a lovely contrast from the tragedies we usually read in school, and I found the zany antics of the characters to be thoroughly amusing. The relationship between Kate and Petruchio was especially my favourite.
A: Theatre shows people the real world, even if they don’t want to see it for themselves. Theatre provides a space where we can listen to music, laugh, and relax for a few hours. It’s a paradise away from the harsh lights of reality.
J: I think that so often we are taught to be proper and to behave ourselves, to be nice, everything to that effect. We’re so busy trying to look good for everyone else and still struggle to be ourselves that it is really a lot of fun to drop those pressures and be an entirely new character. For example, I participated in a play just recently at my school and my character was quite different than I normally am, but I got to have a lot of fun with it.
J: Well, I think that it was just a really fun time to participate in these workshops, and everyone was so supportive from my class and the presenters, so I felt as if acting was an inviting thing for me. I haven’t taken any classes on acting, but I think this workshop was another way for me to practice new skills through acting in the play.
D: I do believe theatre and the arts have a positive impact on the world! While many jobs require maths and sciences for everyday work, theatre and the arts are important to culture. Our understanding of the uncertain things in the world are drawn from art, theatre, and music.
J: I do really think that theatre has a large impact on the community. Personally, having been in the cast of a production at school, I’ve seen how close a cast can become when they work together on a production, and the friendships generated there can be long-lasting and extremely meaningful.
D: Overall, this experience has been absolutely amazing. Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan is such an important part of Saskatchewan’s art scene. I’m actually volunteering for them this summer, and I am excited to spend more time at a place I love!
K+S Potash Canada is proud to partner with Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan as they continue to inspire joy, creativity, and confidence in Saskatoon’s youth through the Shakespeare Live! workshops.