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English I Warehouse Theatre Workshop

posted Apr 1, 2019, 9:48 AM by Jennifer Cox   [ updated Apr 30, 2019, 6:19 AM ]

The English 1 students at West-Oak Middle School are practicing their “thous” and taking punctuation walks. They are evaluating social atoms and determining stock character traits.  The students are dissecting a speech into “meat and potatoes” and practicing gestures to fit a scene.

What exactly are they doing?  They are studying Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet under the guidance of teaching artists, Katie Halstensgard and Libby Hawkins, from The Warehouse Theatre’s This Wooden O program, which brings the actor’s approach to Shakespeare into English Language Arts classrooms across the Upstate.  

WOMS teachers, Melissa Higgs and Kristen Gray, arranged for the March workshop. The Warehouse Theatre has been visiting Higgs’ English 1 classes for several years.  This year, the schedule allowed for two 8th-grade ELA classes to be exposed to the program.

Higgs says, “It is always fascinating to see the students begin to understand the complex language of Shakespeare. They grow to appreciate the rhythm and structure of his work.”  The students enjoy the opportunity to be fully engaged in a text. They move and speak throughout the workshop and realize their own acting abilities.

Thanks to generous support from The TD Charitable Foundation, The Warehouse Theatre is able to offer these Shakespeare workshops at a reduced cost to schools.

English I workshop

Ms. Higgs' students practice gesturing according to Shakespeare's words.

English I workshop2

Zander Clay, Wesley Norris, Morgan Cox, and Gina Drouse practice gestures.

English I workshop3

Mrs. Gray's students get into character by placing crowns on their heads.

English I workshop4

Samantha Burdette, Lillian Capps, Keniel Torres, and Corey Fasset create a tableau of a scene in Romeo & Juliet.