Imprimis: Links and Tidbits, 20 May 2011

This week’s Imprimis features several articles on non-traditional approaches to getting students to enjoy Shakespeare, as well as some thoughts on the enduring place of Shakespeare in modern culture.

  • This blog post examines different versions of Hamlet (Q1, Q2, and F1) through Wordles.
  • A new play uses Shakespeare to talk about issues of teen bullying. In “Cruel to Be Kind,” rehearsals of As You Like It are disrupted by harassment, and it’s up to Shakespeare to set things straight.
  • The BBC is running a new recitation and performance competition for secondary schools: “Off By Heart Shakespeare,” through which they hope to show that “the best way to get to know and love Shakespeare is by performing his words.”
  • “How do you get kids into Shakespeare? Get to them before they know it’s supposed to be tough” — a lovely article on teaching Shakespeare through performance. Cass says: This is exactly my philosophy, and it’s why we’re so enthusiastic at the OCS about our summer programs for teenagers and pre-teens.
  • Then, check out 7 Quirky Ways Students Learn Shakespeare for some more exciting, performance-based approaches that teachers and students are exploring around the country.
  • An article from The Huffington Post about the new Shakespeare High documentary also suggests that bare-bones Shakespeare, without elaborate costumes, sets, or lighting designs (rather like how the OCS performs…), could be the answer to keeping theatre and the arts alive in our current era of budget-slashing (when the arts are too often the first thing on the chopping block).
  • This blog post relates current technology-induced changes in the English language to the revolution of vocabulary during the early modern period. Cass says: Interesting premise, but I’m not quite sure that netspeak is as ultimately beneficial as Shakespeare’s creative inventions.
  • Finally, the Staunton Newsleader has given Shakespeare his own page. This aggregate collects Shakespeare-related news within Staunton, from the OCS, and from around the world.