The stories and language of Shakespeare are filled with such passion and intensity, passion which uniquely matches that of young people today. Adolescence is a time of urgency where everything seems a matter of life and death, a place of both grave danger and indescribable beauty where nothing seems trivial and everything seems possible. What better mouths to put the world’s most powerful poetry into. Who better to tell these stories?
There is a wonderful paradox in combining Shakespeare’s words and students. Children open to, grasp and own characters and language seemingly so beyond their own experience, and in so doing, tell their own story so profoundly that everyone is changed.
It is their story that is most important in our education programs. In the name of education and socialization, we as a society often don’t listen enough to our young people. Shakespeare gives students a language to fully express their experience, passion and despair. It gives them a power to be heard.
This exploration of our individual voices and power through Shakespeare’s words is not limited to young people; adults too can reap huge benefits. The Maryland Shakespeare Festival is deeply committed to this exploration.