Shakespeare Week Flashback: Tradition & Adaptation During The Pandemic
Traditions and rituals help cement a school’s identity, while signaling what our community values. Each grade level performs a class play, because we believe that class plays have an important role in fostering 21st Century Skills. The culmination of our theatrical experience is the annual eighth grade Shakespeare Play.
The Shakespeare experience is a tradition that goes back 60 years and is held in the highest regard across campus. Even during the pandemic, we found innovative ways to keep this tradition alive.
2021: Shakespeare in the Park
After a pause for live performances due to the constraints of the pandemic, the eighth grade class brought to life Shakespeare’s romantic comedy Twelfth Night last fall.
The re-emergence of Shakespeare on campus was a wonderful reminder of the creativity and innovation we’ve seen on campus throughout the pandemic. Transforming the breezeway between Lee Hall and the McIntosh Center for the Arts and Sciences into an outdoor stage was a stroke of genius. The eighth graders constructed their stage to create an outdoor performance theater that could accommodate smaller groups of students with social distancing measures. The ability to adapt and create an outdoor performance experience – a Shakespeare In The Park inspired production – is a testament to the students and faculty.
Go behind the scenes of the 2021 production of Twelfth Night in this video:
2020: Transforming the Shakespeare Play into a Movie
This week Powhatan School’s eighth grade will present one of the longest-running traditions of the Upper School – the annual Shakespeare Play. At the height of the Pandemic, the eighth grade pivoted and turned their Shakespeare production into a movie. 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. Students needed to learn a whole new set of skills to adapt to the technology involved and overcame countless obstacles throughout the filming and editing.
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. It is held in mid-November and is a capstone to the first trimester each year.