News – Summer 2012
More than 200 secondary school English and drama teachers are headed back to their classrooms energized and enriched with new methods for teaching Shakespeare to their students. They learned these at the Shakespeare Set Free Institutes, two-day professional development courses offered by the English-Speaking Union and the Folger Shakespeare Library. The program combines scholarship, performance and pedagogy with an emphasis on performance-based teaching.
Eight Shakespeare Set Free Institutes were hosted by English-Speaking Union Branches across the country this summer, in Fort Lauderdale and Winter Park, FL; Louisville, KY; New York, NY; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, OK; St. Louis, MO; and New Orleans, LA. ESU Branches partnered with local organizations including The Actors Theatre of Louisville, University of Tulsa, New Orleans Shakespeare Festival at Tulane and St. Louis Actors' Studio.
The Shakespeare Set Free Institutes are a collaboration of the English-Speaking Union and the Folger Shakespeare Library, a national leader in Shakespeare education and home to the world's largest collection of Shakespeare materials. During the interactive and intensive program, teachers participate in lectures, seminars, performance classes and pedagogical exercises with internationally-renowned Shakespeare scholars and educators. Each participant also receives a Shakespeare Set Free Toolkit, with lesson plans, videos and textbooks for use in the classroom.
Teachers universally lauded the Institutes as an outstanding professional development experience. As one teacher put it, "Thank you for helping me improve what I do in the classroom."