25,000 Students Served:
A Matinee Milestone at Chesapeake Shakespeare Company
BALTIMORE (May 2, 2018) – Two area school children and two teachers will receive “Golden Tickets” entitling them to lifetime free admission to Chesapeake Shakespeare Company plays on Thursday, May 3, 2018, when the theatre company celebrates a major milestone: The yellow school buses arriving on Calvert Street will deliver the theatre’s 25,000th student matinee patron.
Patterson Park Public Charter School (Baltimore City) and Clarksville Middle School (Howard County) classes are scheduled to attend the Romeo and Juliet school matinee at 10am on Thursday. A teacher and a student representing each school will share the spotlight at 11:45am, immediately after the performance.
School matinees fulfill a dream shared by Chesapeake Shakespeare Company directors since 2014, when they bought and renovated a landmark bank building at Calvert and Redwood Streets. There, actors help the region’s teachers deliver language arts, English, and drama lessons and demystify Shakespeare’s plays. Education has been a mission of Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s work since its founding in 2002, says Ian Gallanar, the company’s Founder and Artistic Director.
“We want to change the way students think about Shakespeare,” says Gallanar, “and we think the best way to do that is to share our live performances of Shakespeare’s plays with the region’s school students.”
For up to nine weeks each spring, Monday through Friday, hundreds of middle school and high school students arrive for professional performances of Romeo and Juliet. In addition, since 2015, matinees of the company’s mainstage plays have been offered for schools. After each performance, the actors return to the stage to answer students’ and teachers’ questions. Workshops are offered in schools and in the theatre by teaching artists from The Studio at the Chesapeake Shakespeare Company.
The school matinee program has made Chesapeake Shakespeare Company one of the city’s largest theatre-based providers of educational programming. The program grew out of a regional touring production and an artist-in-residence program offered when the theatre was based in Howard County. Now the gorgeous playhouse on Calvert Street downtown serves as a resource for the region’s educators, attracting schools from Baltimore, Maryland counties, the District of Columbia, Virginia, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.
In September, the company will expand its school matinee series again, Gallanar says. In addition to the annual Romeo and Juliet spring series, Chesapeake Shakespeare will offer Macbeth on fall mornings to support the curriculum of Baltimore City high schools. School matinees of A Christmas Carol and The Diary of Anne Frank are coming during the theatre’s 2018-2019 mainstage season. For details, contact Ron Heneghan, Education Director, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media contact: Jean Thompson, Communications Director, Chesapeake Shakespeare Company, 7 South Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202; 410-244-8571, ext. 106 (office), 443-845-6130 (cell).