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Shakespeare-in-the-Schools offering programming for classes


August 2, 2005

Shakespeare-in-the-Schools (SITS), the educational outreach program of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Theatre Arts, offers its 17th dynamic season of classic productions and programming for regional educators and students during the 2005-2006 school year.

This season's programs include regional tours of  the one-woman show Rachel Carson Saves the Day! and Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, customized in-school artist residencies, field trip matinees at Pitt's Stephen Foster Memorial, and a workshop for K-12 teachers.

Rachel Carson Saves the Day! will tour to schools in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, September - December 2005.  This multi-media one-woman show highlights the life and work of Springdale, PA native and environmental activist Rachel Carson. The show premiered in January 2005 at Springdale Middle School and was performed for approximately 3,000 students throughout the spring. The 40-minute production highlights the history and importance of the environmental movement and how Rachel Carson's work transformed the way we think about and act upon the earth.  The show is directed by Nona Gerard.

A new production of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, directed by Holly Thuma, tours regional schools, February - April 2006.  Focusing on the play's themes of tolerance, trust, and love, Romeo and Juliet features three actors playing all the major roles in a 50-minute adaptation by Rick Kemp. To book Rachel Carson Saves the Day! or Romeo and Juliet, contact Gateway to the Arts at 412-342-4444 or

SITS will offer field trip matinees of the Pitt Repertory Theatre productions of the Shakespearean adventure Pericles on Thursday, November 3, at 10 a.m.  in the Charity Randall Theatre, and Brian Friel's contemporary masterpiece Dancing at Lughnasa on Friday, March 31, 2006, at 11 a.m. and Thursday, April 6, 2006, at 10 a.m. in the Henry Heymann Theatre. All matinees take place in the historic Stephen Foster Memorial arts center, home to the University of Pittsburgh Repertory Theatre in Oakland. Student tickets may be purchased for $8 each by contacting SITS at 412-624-3459 or

SITS matinees are sophisticated performances for middle and high school students in Pitt's state-of-the-art venues. Students interact with both the players and the plays through actors' pre-show visits, study guides for teachers, and talk-back sessions with cast members after each production.

Pericles, Shakespeare's masterful tale of one man's fantastic voyage through the Mediterranean, is directed by Eduard Butenko, a guest faculty member from the Vaktangov Institute and Russian Drama School in Moscow. Pericles risks life, family, and his own integrity in this adventure punctuated with the expected storms and famines as well as surprising phenomena.

Dancing at Lughnasa is Irish playwright Brian Friel's Tony Award-winning masterpiece. The play re-lives the memories of a young man raised by five sisters in the small Irish village of Ballybeg in the 1930s amid the summer harvest festival of Lughnasa. Dancing at Lughnasa is directed for Pitt Rep by Holly Thuma.

Shakespearean experts from the University of Pittsburgh's Department of Theatre Arts guide K-12 teachers through interactive workshops designed to help bring a better understanding of the Bard's texts to the classroom. The seventh annual workshop is at the University of Pittsburgh on Friday, Jan. 27, 2006. Participants will be the first to view SITS's new production of Romeo and Juliet.

Educators may apply for Act 48 credit through their area school districts.  To register or for additional information contact SITS at 412-624-3459 or

SITS's Teaching Artists work with K-12 students to develop their listening and responding skills, self-confidence and poise in front of an audience. Students experience the energy and excitement of learning to perform while developing crucial life skills. See It, Feel It, Act It, Write It is SITS's new residency option and explores how exposure to art (visual or performance) inspires creativity in students.

In close collaboration with classroom teachers, SITS's artists lead students through the different phases of the residency: exposure to art, describing their feelings about what they see, incorporating acting exercises to express their feelings, and finally, writing an age-appropriate piece (an essay, poem, or rap song) synthesizing all the preceding phases. SITS's Artist Residencies are customized to fit the curricular goals of the educator and address the Pennsylvania Department of Education Arts and Humanities standards.

For more information or to book a residency program, contact SITS at 412-624-3459 or


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