the joy of Performing Shakespeare!
Come play and learn
in The Bard’s world of ingenious silliness
Join us on our playful and exciting journey to performing Shakespeare.
We will challenge ourselves
in all the arts of Shakespearean performance, explore and rehearse a Shakespearean masterpiece, and finally celebrate our
journey in a fantastic performance!
“The play’s the thing”
Using all our new skills, we dive into the play! We’ll
bring our characters to life; exploring the world of the play and discovering the relationships that make up the lives of
every character. Each class group will focus on a particular Shakespearean play in the
original Shakespearean English,
edited to create a script of reasonable length for our students.
Our recent productions have included:
Midsummer Night’s Dream * Twelfth Night
As You Like It * The Two Gentlemen of Verona
The Taming of the
Shrew * Much Ado About Nothing
The Comedy of Errors * Love’s Labour’s Lost * The Merry Wives of Windsor
Hamlet * Macbeth * Romeo and Juliet
King Lear * The Merchant of Venice
* Henry IV, Part 1
The Winter’s Tale * The Tempest * Cymbeline
A Playdate with
Shakespeare * Macbeezy (hip-hop musical)
The Merry Wives of Windsor (musical)
“A course of learning and ingenious studies.”
The program begins with specialty workshops
that introduce and develop skills to be used in the rehearsal process and final production. Depending on the needs of the
production, we’ll challenge ourselves in many of the following disciplines:
Elizabethan Dance and Movement
Song * Acting * Improvisation
Speech/Voice * Text Analysis * Stage Combat
Physical Comedy and Clowning
Exploration of Elizabethan Life
Creative Characterization * Juggling
Stage Make-up * Prop-Making
Much Ado classes made the entire mysterious process of putting on a play accessible, even to my younger ones. I was consistently
impressed with the teacher's ability to meet the children at their different levels, bring them to a higher level, maintain
order in the classroom, and have fun, to boot!" Jan
Becher, Santa Paula
“O, what learning is!”
The academic and personal benefits for the students
can be profound. Familiarity with the works of the greatest English playwright brings newfound appreciation of the English
language and literary knowledge that will serve the students throughout their educational careers.
and challenges of the Much Ado program also spark personal growth in such areas as: self-esteem, confidence in front of groups,
creative self-expression, vocal presence, leadership qualities, respect for others, and teamwork.
It is an exciting process to behold.
“What harmony is this? My good friends, hark!”
Much Ado’s mission is to create in each
class a student ensemble that explores the world of the theatre and the works of William Shakespeare in a fun and non-competitive
"It was incredibly fun to go to the classes and I learned a lot more
I loved stage combat!! I really want to perform in more plays." Tom, age10
Although our programs
involve performance, our emphasis is on the students’ classroom experience of learning and discovery as they encounter
the world of classical theatre. Our classes favor physical movement and active learning
over traditional lectures.
We feel that classes and rehearsals should be fun and engaging for all types of learners and therefore, do everything
possible to meet the individual needs
of each student.
“In this world of homogenized, watered-down education I am thrilled to find a program like Much Ado for my children.
The classes combine fun with high expectations to bring out the best in everyone. Best of all, after eleven
years of participation, my kids still love it!”
Martha Fellows, Ojai
"It was wonderful meeting so many new
people -- making friends with them, getting to know them -- and it was even more wonderful to start to understand what Shakespeare
meant by his plays. The teachers were extremely helpful and made it all a blast." Greta, age 13
"Romeo and Juliet" Santa
“Much Ado has encouraged my children
to be expressive, to take risks and to bring their own unique personalities into every character they have portrayed! Being
a homeschool parent, I wanted my children to experience the fun and comraderie of putting on a play. This
program does more than that, as it opens their eyes into the world of Shakespeare. This is one of
those opportunities you feel so incredibly fortunate to be
able to provide your children.” Carla Byle, Ojai
West Valley Program 2009
"It was so much fun learning more about William Shakespeare. And
it was great to make new friends. I loved learning the jig and the song, I sing and dance around the
house!" Zoe age 8