Last summer, for the eleventh season, secondary school English and Drama teachers convened at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino to work with ESU-LA Board member Louis Fantasia and the distinguished faculty of scholars, theatre practitioners and educators for two intense weeks in July.
The 24 teachers had a full program of voice, movement, scene study and text analysis, as well class room techniques and scholarly research. Study tours included visits to the Getty Center, the Getty Villa, the Norton Simon Museum and the rare books collection of Huntington. As a group, the teachers saw several Shakespeare plays during the two weeks, including MEASURE FOR MEASURE, TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA, WINTER'S TALE and MACBETH.
" I have learned SO much..." wrote one participant. "I have had so many epiphanies and moments of inspiration, that at one point today I was actually feeling euphoric. I won't lie, I am totally overwhelmed, but there is no doubt that I will be able to take a good portion of this to the classroom. At first, I was thinking that two weeks was a bit much, but now I'm sure that 10 weeks would not be enough... There is no doubt that with more teacher programs like this one, there would be a dramatic increase in the quality of education. I know that sounds like a dramatic statement, but I am so sincere when I say that."
The distinguished faculty that comes together each summer includes scholars and teachers from New York University, the University of Texas at Austin, Shakespeare's Globe in London, as well as distinguished local actors, teachers and scholars.
Louis Fantasia, director of the program since its inception since in 2005, and director of the London Globe's "Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance" teacher training institute from 1997 to 2002, believes that the Huntington has become one of the nation's pre-eminent teacher training programs.
"Of course I'm prejudiced," said Fantasia, " But I believe we have developed and refined our program so that it addresses the needs of teachers today, making Shakespeare vibrant and alive for all students. The fact that over the past two years we have started to reach out, with the help of ESU National Headquarters, and draw participants from outside Southern California, shows the impact we are having. Two other signs of our success are the number of returning teachers who return to take the course more than once, and the support we are getting from corporations and foundations to continue to expand the program."
Teachers interested in the 2016 summer program should contact Marissa Kuchek for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
The ESU celebrates English as a shared language to foster global understanding and good will by providing educational and cultural opportunities for students, educators, and members.
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