Much Ado About Shakespeare, LLC

 

"All the world's a stage..."

 

 

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Much Ado About Shakespeare, LLC is a professional educational program that brings the joy of theater and William Shakespeare’s works to homeschool students.  In the Shakespeare programs, Much Ado combines technique workshops in areas such as stage combat, Elizabethan dance and acting with rehearsal classes focused on selected Shakespearean plays.  Most of these programs then culminate in student Shakespearean productions for the community. Much Ado also offers programs in Playwriting, Improvisation and Commedia dell’Arte, as well as workshops in performance skills like Stage Combat, Voice and Acting.

We are process-focused, rather than product-focused.  Although our programs involve performance, our emphasis is on the students’ classroom experiences of learning and discovery as they encounter the world of classical theatre.  We design each class to educate the students about not only acting and the theatre, but also the particular skills and knowledge involved in bringing Shakespeare’s plays to life.  Our classes favor physical movement and active learning over traditional lectures.  The richness of the lessons lies more in the doing and feeling than in the intellectualizing of material. 

            We feel that classes/rehearsals should be fun and engaging for all types of learners.  We value the fact that each student learns in his or her unique way and therefore, do everything possible to meet the individual needs of each student.

            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 environment.

 

Our Story

 

 

At its beginning, Much Ado was then what it continues to be now: people coming together to share and learn from the theater’s wonder, excitement and understanding. Fourteen years ago, a season of outdoor Shakespeare productions brought together a group of committed, professional actors looking to share and develop their skills beyond the level of stage performance.  With each actor bringing a passion for teaching and a love of learning, this team brought their talents and commitment to the homeschool communities of Ventura and Simi Valley for a season of student Shakespeare productions. Growing from the seed of these early programs, Much Ado has flourished through the support of the wonderful families in each community we encounter. Almost entirely due to word of mouth, Much Ado is now offering theater arts programs throughout Southern California in such areas as: Ventura, Simi/Conejo, Camarillo, Santa Clarita, La Crescenta, Westchester; with a new program beginning in Orange County. As Much Ado has acquired new, brilliant and multi-talented group of teachers, they have expanded from their Shakespearean foundation to offering theater arts programs across the spectrum of theatrical performance skills (Playwriting, Improvisation, Stage Combat, etc.).  Much Ado is so proud to see all their students growing in self-expression, confidence, teamwork and understanding from their journeys in the theater and their love of Shakespeare.  Much Ado is ever thankful for our grand theatrical family and look forward to watching it grow.

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Experience the joy of Performing Shakespeare!

Come play and learn
in The Bard’s world of ingenious silliness
and breathtaking eloquence.

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!


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The Rehearsals

“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:

A 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)

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The Specialty Workshops

“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
Elizabethan Song * Acting * Improvisation
Speech/Voice * Text Analysis * Stage Combat
Physical Comedy and Clowning
Historical Exploration of Elizabethan Life
Creative Characterization * Juggling
Stage Make-up * Prop-Making

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The Great Rewards

“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.

The experiences 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.
 
 
"The 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
 

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Our Philosophy

“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 environment.
 
 
 
 

 

"It was incredibly fun to go to the classes and I learned a lot more about Shakespeare.

I loved stage combat!!  I really want to perform in more plays."   Tom, age10

 

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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

 

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Malibu Shakespeare Day 2009
 
 
 "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

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"Romeo and Juliet" Santa Clarita 2009
 
 
“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 

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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 

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Ventura Improv 2009

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Ventura Program 2009

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Conejo Valley Performances 2009