Trinity students in the Fine Arts in Education course are re-creating Shakespeare in new and unique ways as they team up with honors freshmen English students from Chicago’s Kelly High School. The rehearsed scenes are scheduled to be performed on Trinity’s campus on April 15.
Alumna Theresa Mathew ’06 was interested in finding a way for her Kelly freshmen English class to connect to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. She contacted Bill Boerman-Cornell, assistant professor of education, and the two found an innovative way to collaborate.
Trinity and Kelly students teamed up in five separate groups. Working in the Marg Kallemeyn Theatre, each group is re-creating a significant scene from Romeo and Juliet in a different time period and setting, such as the 1950s, ancient Egypt, and even the world of Star Wars. The themes are a way for students to connect Shakespeare to a more modern setting, while integrating fun into the academic experience.
Education students gain experience working with high school students, while also providing a positive learning experience for the Kelly students. “The people in this class have a passion for the arts and for students,” said Erika Huizenga ‘11 of Highland, Indiana.
In their mentorship roles, Trinity students encourage the Kelly students by answering questions, explaining scenes, and getting them excited about Shakespeare explained Jackie Sanchez ’12 of Berwyn, Illinois.
“The time we meet will have an impact and be beneficial,” said David Hoekman ’12 of Caledonia, Michigan. Students are going to take something away from the experience, he explained, whether it is social skills, learning to express themselves, or a better understanding of the arts.
Energized by the project, Trinity students expressed a desire to see this collaboration with high school students not only continue in the future, but spread to other area high schools.
“I’m very excited about it,” Sanchez said. “I think it’s great that we’re working with high school students.”
Boerman-Cornell and Mathew received a grant from the State Farm Fellowship through Campus Compact. The grant provided the funding for the costumes and props as well as a chance for the students to see the Shakespeare production Comedy of Errors at Navy Pier in Chicago.