Montana State University

Shakespeare company for elementary schools begins regional spring tour

March 9, 2011

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
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Montana Shakespeare in the Parks' elementary schools tour, known as Montana Shakes!, will perform at more than 40 regional schools during its eight-week spring tour beginning March 21 and ending May 13.

The 2011 Montana Shakes! program features an Old West traveling troupe performing "All the West's a Stage: A Fool's Gold," a 35-minute play showcasing hilarious scenes from Shakespeare's "The Two Gentlemen of Verona" and "The Comedy of Errors," along with participation from the student audience.

Montana Shakes! is Montana Shakespeare in the Parks' educational outreach program. In its third year, it 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."

He added that the company's main goal is to make young student's first exposure to Shakespeare exciting and non-threatening.

"We'd like to create a positive atmosphere for kids to form a lifelong appreciation of Shakespeare's works," Jahnke said.

For more information about Montana Shakes!, or to reserve a date for next year's tour, contact Kathy Jahnke at (406) 994-1220, e-mail her at kjahnke@montana.edu, or visit the Montana Shakespeare in the Parks Website at www.montana.edu/shakespeare.

2011 tour schedule:
March 21, Monday, Hawthorne School, Bozeman
March 22, Tuesday, Ennis School, Ennis
March 23, Wednesday, Absarokee School, Absarokee
March 24, Thursday, Roberts School, Roberts
March 25, Friday, Blue Creek School, Billings
March 28, Monday, South Side School, Wolf Point
March 29, Tuesday, Sidney Elementary School, Sidney
March 30, Wednesday, Rau School, Sidney
March 31, Thursday, Fairview School, Fairview
April 1, Friday, Irving School, Bozeman
April 4, Monday, Graff Elementary, Laurel
April 5, Tuesday, Longfellow School, Bozeman
April 6, Wednesday, Highland Park Elementary, Sheridan, Wyo.
April 7, Thursday, Elysian School, Billings
April 8, Friday, Ekalaka School, Ekalaka
April 11, Monday, Park County Home School Assoc., Livingston
April 12, Tuesday, Roundup School, Roundup
April 13, Wednesday, South School, Laurel
April 14, Thursday, South School, Laurel
April 15, Friday, West School, Laurel
April 18, Monday, Whittier Elementary, Butte
April 19, Tuesday, Alberton School, Alberton
April 20, Wednesday, Noxon School, Noxon
April 21, Thursday, Kila School, Kila
April 22, Friday, L.A. Muldown School, Whitefish
April 25, Monday, LaMotte School, Bozeman
April 28, Thursday, Wapiti School, Wapiti Wyo.
April 29, Friday, Laura Irwin Elementary, Basin WY
May 2, Monday, Rocky Boy- Jr High/ High School, Rocky Boy
May 3, Tuesday, Melville School, Melville
May 4, Wednesday, Ophir School, Big Sky
May 5, Thursday, Gallatin Gateway School, Gallatin Gateway
May 6, Friday, Monforton Elementary, Bozeman
May 9, Monday, Mountain View Elementary, Great Falls
May 10, Tuesday, St. Mary's Elementary, Livingston
May 11, Wednesday, Morning Star Elementary, Bozeman
May 12, Thursday, Amsterdam School, Amsterdam
May 13, Friday, Springhill School House, Bozeman

Kathy Jahnke, (406) 994-1220, kjahnke@montana.edu