The 10-week tour that begins Oct. 12 and concludes in December is the first of two educational outreach programs being offered during this academic year by Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, which is based at Montana State University. MONTANA SHAKES!, a tour designed specifically for elementary school children, will tour in the spring of 2013.
This year, Montana Shakespeare in the Schools will also offer performances to the general public in Bozeman, Livingston, Frenchtown and Buffalo, Wyo.
Joel Jahnke, MSU theater professor since 1976 who serves as artistic director for Montana Shakespeare in the Parks and its two educational programs, said the focus of the Shakespeare in the Schools program is to bring a shortened version of a Shakespeare play to high school and middle school students who otherwise would have few, if any, opportunities to experience a quality live performance produced by a professional company. In order to accommodate the schools' scheduling needs, Montana Shakespeare in the School's productions of "Macbeth" will be trimmed to 75 minutes. There will also be workshops on relevant themes in the play, Shakespearian verse and stage combat.
"As with the summer tour, this program places special emphasis on underserved, rural areas," Jahnke said. "Many of the schools we visit have a population that is even smaller than the communities we serve during the summer months, and the company travels an average of 800 miles per week to get there."
Montana Shakespeare in the Schools began in 1993 with two professional actors performing scenes from Shakespeare's plays with minimal costumes and scenery. It has grown to include an eight-member professional company that offers a full Shakespearean production complete with ornate costumes and scenery as well as a talk-back session and a full complement of workshops. "Macbeth" is directed by the Chicago-based Kevin Fox. Montana Shakespeare in the Parks and Schools resident designer Tom Watson has created a dynamic set that is evocative of popular graphic novel art, and costume designer Claudia Boddy outfits the company in Gothic-Celtic creations. Mark Kuntz, the veteran of 17 tours with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, Shakespeare in the Schools and SHAKES!, will be playing the title role of Macbeth. This will be Kuntz' final tour for the company, as well as his last as company manager.
For the past nine years, Montana Shakespeare in the Schools has been funded in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts "Shakespeare in American Communities: Shakespeare for a New Generation." Additional funding support comes from the Montana Arts Council Artists in the Schools and Communities program, The Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Foundation and the Homer A. and Mildred S. Scott Foundation.
Shakespeare in the School's annual Elise Event, a fundraiser named in honor of sponsor Elise Donohue, will be held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, at MSU's Black Box Theater located at 11th and Grant St. The event will feature an after-show catered wine reception and a performance of "Macbeth," followed by a talk back with the actors, designers and Jahnke. Tickets are $40 per person and advance reservations are highly recommended. Call 994-3901.
For more information about Shakespeare in the Schools, visit the website at shakespeareintheparks.org
Shakespeare in the Schools 2012 Tour - Macbeth
Oct. 12-14 Big Timber Literary Arts Roundup
Oct. 15 Sweet Grass County High School, Big Timber
Oct. 16 Sheridan High School, Sheridan, Wyo.
Oct. 17 Ten Sleep School, Ten Sleep, Wyo.
Oct. 18 Worland High School, Worland, Wyo.
Oct. 19 Buffalo High School, Buffalo, Wyo.
Oct. 19 Public Performance at Buffalo High School Auditorium, Buffalo, Wyo.
Oct. 22 Sheridan High School, Sheridan, Mont.
Oct. 23 Lone Peak High School, Big Sky
Oct. 24 Belgrade High School
Oct. 25 Sleeping Giant Middle School, Livingston
Oct. 26 Anderson School, Bozeman
Oct. 29 Carter County High School, Ekalaka
Oct. 30 Bainville High School
Oct. 31 Scobey High School
Nov. 1 Sidney High School
Nov. 2 Fort Peck Community College, Poplar
Nov. 3 Elise Event Fundraiser, Black Box Theater on the MSU Campus
Nov. 5 Whitehall Schools
Nov. 6 Bozeman High School
Nov. 7 Helena High School
Nov. 8 White Sulphur Springs High School
Nov. 9 Chief Joseph Middle School, Bozeman
Nov. 9 Public Performance at the Shane Center for the Arts, Livingston
Nov. 12 Simms High School
Nov. 13 Box Elder High School
Nov. 14 North Star High School, Rudyard
Nov. 15 Moore High School
Nov. 16 Roundup High School
Nov. 19 Hardin High School
Nov. 20 Sacajawea Middle School, Bozeman
Nov. 21 Shields Valley High School, Clyde Park
Nov. 26 Lame Deer High School
Nov. 27 Colstrip High School
Nov. 28 Cody (Wyo.) High School
Nov. 29 Meeteetse (Wyo.) High School
Nov. 30 Powell (Wyo.) High School
Dec. 3 Missoula Sentinel High School
Dec. 4 Belt High School
Dec. 5 Highwood High School
Dec. 6 Conrad High School
Dec. 7 Townsend High School
Dec. 10 Kila High School
Dec. 11 Polson High School
Dec. 12 Seeley-Swan High School
Dec. 13 St. Ignatius High School
Dec. 14 Frenchtown High School
Dec. 14 Public Performance at Frenchtown High School Auditorium
Dec. 17 Florence-Carlton High School
Dec. 18 Corvallis High School
Dec. 19 Hamilton High School
Dec. 20 East Valley Middle School, East Helena
Dec. 21 Manhattan High School
Susan Dickerson email@example.com (406) 994-3033