Montana State University

Shakespeare company for elementary schools, sets eight-week spring tour

February 4, 2010

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MSU News Service
Tel: (406) 994-4571
Montana Shakespeare in the Parks' elementary schools tour, known as Montana Shakes!, will perform at more than 40 regional schools during its first eight-week spring tour beginning March 22.

Montana Shakes! is Montana Shakespeare in the Parks' newest educational outreach program and was born out of the popularity of Shakespeare in the Schools, the fall tour which focuses primarily on high school and middle school students.

"The company often found itself performing for grades K-5 in the smallest, most underserved areas where there is only one school in the community," said Joel Jahnke, theater professor at Montana State University who is artistic director for Montana Shakes!, Shakespeare in the Schools and Montana Shakespeare in the Parks.

"Although they enjoyed the play, it was often too long for young attention spans and, more importantly, they were excluded from participating in workshops that were designed for older students. We felt that a program designed specifically for the needs of this age group might provide a welcome and innovative introduction to Shakespeare at a time when students are most receptive to learning."

The Montana Shakes! company will perform "All The West's A Stage: Scenes from A Midsummer Night's Dream," a 35-minute production performed by three professional actors with help from students and teachers. They also conduct a talk-back session following the performance and up to nine workshops. The tour runs through May 14. The group will also present more than 350 theater workshops to students grades K-5 in the coming weeks.

Montana Shakes! first full spring tour is made possible by a $10,000 grant from the Beim Foundation.

"The hope of Montana Shakes! is that if a student's first exposure to Shakespeare is a positive one, it will open the door for a lifelong appreciation of Shakespeare and other great literature," Jahnke said.

For additional information about Montana Shakespeare in the Parks, call 994-1220, e-mail, or visit the Montana Shakespeare in the Parks Website at

March 22, Monday, South School, Laurel
March 23, Tuesday, West School, Laurel
March 24, Wednesday, West School, Laurel
March 25, Thursday, Garfield School, Lewistown
March 26, Friday, Irving School, Bozeman
March 29, Monday, Ennis School, Ennis
March 30, Tuesday, Morningstar Elementary, Bozeman
March 31, Wednesday, St. Francis Intermediate, Billings
April 1, Thursday, Ophir School, Big Sky
April 2, Friday, Longfellow School, Bozeman
April 5, Monday, Hawthorne Elementary, Bozeman
April 6, Tuesday, Lodge Grass School, Lodge Grass
April 7, Wednesday, Broadus School, Broadus
April 8, Thursday, Terry School, Terry
April 9, Friday, Ekalaka Elementary, Ekalaka
April 12, Monday, Southside School, Wolf Point
April 13, Tuesday, OPEN
April 14, Wednesday, Highland School, Billings
April 15, Thursday, Miles Ave. School, Billings
April 16, Friday, Highland School, Billings
April 19, Monday, Broadwater School, Helena
April 20, Tuesday, Paxson School, Missoula
April 21, Wednesday, Darby School, Darby
April 22, Thursday, Kila School, Kila
April 23, Friday, Plains School, Plains
April 26, Monday, Absarokee School, Absarokee
April 27, Tuesday, TBA, Cody, Wyo.
April 28, Wednesday, Laura Irwin Elementary, Basin, Wyo.
April 29, Thursday, TBA, Powell, Wyo.
April 30, Friday, Meeteetse School, Meeteetse, Wyo.
May 3, Monday, TBA, Polson
May 4, Tuesday, TBA, Polson
May 5, Wednesday, LA Muldown School, Whitefish
May 6, Thursday, St. Ignatius School, St. Ignatius
May 7, Friday, Potomoc School, Bonner
May 10, Monday, Sunnyside School, Havre
May 11, Tuesday, WK Dwyer School, Anaconda
May 12, Wednesday, Mountain View School, Great Falls
May 13, Thursday, Amsterdam School, Amsterdam
May 14, Friday, LaMotte School, Bozeman

Kathy Jahnke, (406) 994-1220,