Chesapeake Shakespeare Company to Provide Free Educational Programming to Military Families
Silver Spring, Md. (February 26, 2020) – In a continuation of a 2019 first-of-its-kind project with Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (CSC) will once again provide educational programming at no cost to active duty, guard, and reserve service members, and veterans, as well as their families, caregivers, and spouses/significant others at the Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals in Silver Spring, MD. Two different workshops will be made available every Wednesday evening through April 29, 2020 from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm.
This program is part of Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and the state and local arts agencies. The initiative seeks to improve the health, wellness, and quality of life for military and veteran populations exposed to trauma, as well as their families and caregivers. Administrative support for the initiative is provided by Americans for the Arts.
The Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic at Easterseals provides high-quality and accessible behavioral health care to veterans, their families, the families of active duty service members, and caregivers. This will be the first performing arts initiative offered at their facility in Silver Spring.
A Shakespeare Scene Study class designed for active duty, guard, and reserve service members, and veterans, will focus on scenes that contain strong female characters from Shakespeare. They will read, speak, and act out parts, usually with a partner, under the direction of a CSC Teaching Artist. The second class is a general Theatre Appreciation course designed to engage military families and caregivers. Led by a CSC Teaching Artist, the workshop will include understanding basic elements of theatre (acting, designing, directing), participatory games (drawing, crafting, reading, speaking, listening), and critical response.
CSC first began offering educational programming for veterans in 2016 through its Olive Branch/Laurel Crown program which provides free Acting ensemble workshops for U.S. veterans and all who support their service. Last year, CSC was selected as one of Creative Forces Community Connections Project contract recipients and became the only performing arts organization in the country to operate theatre education programming on an active military installation at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. The program engaged veterans and active duty military personnel in theatrical workshops leading toward a semi-staged production in September 2019 of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which toured from Walter Reed in Bethesda, Md., to CSC’s downtown Baltimore theatre, and then on to the Maryland Ensemble Theatre in Frederick, Md.
Participants in the CSC program at Walter Reed gave the experience high praise; they reported a new understanding of Shakespeare’s language and storylines, as well as the acquisition of theater skills. They valued the program for their personal experiences and for the opportunity to work with peers from the military. In an anonymous course survey, one veteran stated, “You take on a role that you can put your experiences into, a role that can possibly relieve some stress.” Regarding working in an ensemble, another observed, “The interaction, the give and take between actors, you rely on others and they rely on you.” Another participant commented, “It gives us an opportunity to work together as a team and work toward a common goal, which is what you do in the military.”
CSC featured Olive Branch/Laurel Crown ensemble members in supporting roles in its acclaimed production of Measure for Measure this winter, and will continue the workshop program with Veterans at its Baltimore campus later this spring.
WHO: For active duty, guard, and reserve service members, and veterans, as well as their families and caregivers
WHAT: Two classes taught by CSC Teaching Artists
- For active duty, guard, and reserve service members, and veterans, a Shakespeare Scene Study class (Scenes and Monologues)
- For Families and Caregivers, a general theatre class on acting, performance, design, and crafts.
WHERE: THE STEVEN A COHEN MILITARY FAMILY CLINIC AT EASTERSEALS located at 1420 Spring Street, Silver Spring, MD 20910
WHEN: Every Wednesday through April 29, 2020 from 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm
For more information about this program or to register, visit ChesapeakeShakespeare.com/Vets.
ABOUT CHESAPEAKE SHAKESPEARE COMPANY
Founded in 2002 with the goal of producing “Shakespeare that’s not stuffy”, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company (CSC) is dedicated to bringing the plays of Shakespeare and other classic playwrights into the lives of as many people as possible in ways that are personally meaningful, educationally inspiring, and theatrically compelling. Our mission is to engage our communities in the exploration of what makes Shakespeare so timeless and relevant while strengthening the connection between audience and artist. In 2012, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company acquired the Mercantile Safe Deposit and Trust Company building in downtown Baltimore, renovating it into a modern Globe Theater for indoor performances, while continuing to produce outdoor Shakespeare every summer at the PFI Historic Park in Howard County. The organization regularly serves 30,000+ people annually through artistic projects and community engagement initiatives, and vibrant and continually growing education activities. CSC’s education program includes both an extensive matinee series, camps, classes, and in- and out-of-school residencies.