This week Powhatan School’s eighth grade will present one of the longest-running traditions of the Upper School – the annual Shakespeare Play. This year we moved the performance outside, allowing smaller groups of students to enjoy sort of a “Shakespeare in the Park” experience all week long.
Last year, the eighth grade pivoted and turned their Shakespeare production into a movie.
Traditions of the Powhatan School Experience:
Time-honored traditions are essential to independent schools. “One of the ways we build a strong sense of community is through our traditions,” says Mr. Holgate, the Upper School Director. “We have a number of traditions that have been around for decades. These activities signal to our community what we value as a school.”
“Last year, when we were discussing the specific programs and activities that we, as faculty, felt are vital to the Powhatan experience, a few activities immediately rose above the rest.” Mr. Holgate continued, “Shakespeare was one of those cornerstone events that we highly value. And while, due to COVID, we could not keep all of the traditions in place, I was excited about the way our faculty looked for creative and innovative solutions to keep many of these experiences in the curriculum.”
Students and faculty leveraged technology to turn the annual Shakespeare Play of The Winter’s Tale into a movie for the school community. Students moved outside in October for filming on a daily basis. They constructed a set outside of the library and utilized the 47-acre Crocker Conservancy on campus for additional filming. “It was amazing watching how the students responded when tasked with adapting the play into a video production,” said Mr. Holegate.
Shakespeare has been a part of our school since the early 1960’s and is looked at as a rite of passage for the eighth grade class. Under normal circumstances, the entire week of the Shakespeare play is full of activities and excitement leading up to the big production. It is usually held in mid-November and is a capstone to the first trimester each year.