Friday, March 25, 2011

Changing How Young We Teach Shakespeare

We often post advisories about plays: good for all audiences, good for children aged 10 & up, or good for children aged 13 & up, "adult language" advisories, etc.  But it's almost always above age 7.   Children aged five have loved the plays, but we hardly think of them speaking the text.  So too, in Richmond Shakespeare's Education offerings, we often start at 5th grade (age 10), 4th grade (age 9), and occasionally even younger, but over the two+ decades of the company's existence, these age groupings were pretty well set.  

Max Cole may have changed how we think about kids and Shakespeare.  Now it's true, Max's parents are both associate artists with the company, between them they've performed Beatrice, Romeo, Iago, Hamlet, Princess Katherine and this summer Max's Mom will be a daughter of King Lear.  But take a look at Max's work on the Romeo & Juliet prologue and tell us your thoughts.  Here's a link to Mom Sarah's blog about preparing Max to see the show---they talked about its violence and (eek) the kissing---Dad Jeff was Romeo---but Max's own interest and enthusiasm led to learning the prologue.   Heck, he only calls for line twice.  Have a great weekend, and send us your thoughts!


Shirley said...

It's fun to comment but I think you have all the proof you need right in that clip. I can attest from my own young 'uns that kids love this language. When it rhymes it really is a natural progression from Dr. Seuss. Getting them to say it at an age before they have developed crippling self-awareness will be a gift for them to treasure forever.

Shirley Kagan.

Grant Mudge said...

One anonymous poster asked about our link to Twitter, but seemed close enough to spam that we'll just provide the link here without posting the comment. ---Anon, you can find RS' Twitter feed at, and the feed is easily searchable by typing "Richmond Shakespeare" into Twitter's search engine. You can also find us on Facebook, where we publish photos of actors, make special ticketing offers and discuss productions and theatre in general.