BYU hosts summer Shakespeare workshop

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    By Valerie Jinii Thatcher

    This summer the BYU Theater Media Arts department is hosting the Young People”s Shakespeare Workshop. This workshop takes kids ages 9-12 and gives them a taste of the works of Shakespeare.

    “It”s part of the Theater Media Arts Department and part of the community outreach program. This is basically taking Shakespeare to the people,” said Pam Mayes, organizer of the Young People”s Shakespeare Workshop.

    The workshop allows BYU Theater Media arts students to pass on their knowledge of Shakespeare to a new generation of young thespians.

    “We want to get kids when they”re young,” Mayes said. “We have so many talented people in the theater department and so many people that are Shakespeareans and work well with kids; it”s just a great combination.”

    The workshop teaches children about the life of Shakespeare, his works and the basic elements of theater production.

    “We”re approaching that in order for theater to be done there needs to be an actor, an audience, and there needs to be a space. We don”t necessarily need to focus on costumes or props. We really just want to focus on the central elements of theater,” said Char Nelson, one of the teachers of the workshop.

    The workshop teaches more than just the works of Shakespeare and theater basics. It also pushes children to use their imaginations and be creative.

    “We challenge their imagination because we want them to realize that these scenes can be done in lots of different ways…. It becomes a kind of higher level thinking that they are doing. They are challenging themselves to be really flexible and imaginative in their thinking,” Nelson said.

    The children who attend the workshop come for many different reasons, but many come out of a pure love of theater and Shakespeare.

    “I love to act and I just got a book with the complete works of Shakespeare. I like what I am reading and I wanted to understand some of the words better,” said Vachelle Thomas, a workshop participant.

    The workshop participants walk away with many life lessons as well.

    “You just have to have fun when you”re on stage and don”t be embarrassed in front of people,” said Corbin Hansen, a workshop participant.

    But the Theater Media Arts students hope that the workshop will instill a love of Shakespeare in their participants.

    “For one thing I hope that they have a great time but I also hope that it kind of hooks them on Shakespeare and that they end up wanting to do more on their own or at school,” Nelson said.

    BYU Theater Department will host two more Young People”s Shakespeare Workshops this summer. The workshops are part of a fellowship at BYU to bring Shakespeare to the community. The fellowship also sponsors workshops for Elementary school teachers, secondary school drama teachers, and high school students.

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