Utah Shakespeare Festival

Utah Shakespeare Festival

I just spent an amazing week+ at the Utah Shakespeare Festival!  

While there, I took TWO theatre classes (Theatre Methods: Secondary; Tech for Teachers) and attended the UACTT summer conference!

I learned SO MUCH from Michael Bahr and Russ Saxton and all of the amazing people who work at USF!

Theatre Methods.  

I came home with an enormous amount of ideas, collaborative measures, and a multitude of resources.  I participated in activities I know my students will love…I did.

Utah Shakespeare Festival.  Each year, the classes are taught by Michael and Russ.  However, many of the workshops we attend are taught by current USF staff. 

Theatre Methods. During the three days of Secondary Methods, we worked on a huge variety of Learning Activities we could take back to our classrooms.  We discussed the individual needs of our classrooms, collaborated with new and seasoned teachers,  learned the best way to structure our courses, and met with current actors of the productions.

Theatre Methods. This year, we met Shane Kenyon, who plays Romeo.  We got to learn a little bit about him and have a Q & A session.  Each of us, were asked to bring an activity to share.  As this is my first year teaching theatre, I was a little hesitant about having an activity to share.  However, as I got to know the other class members and talked with them, I realized I could share my knowledge about breakouts.  This class was everything I hoped it would be.  I learned the things I knew I needed to learn and came away with even more.

Utah Shakespeare Festival.

Tech for Teachers. The first day of the tech class, we were taken on a tour of the facilities just as we had for the Theatre Methods but this time, we were treated to areas of the previous outdoor theatre and current theatres patrons don’t go.  Many of these areas became our work zone for the workshops and projects. We also got to learn all about masking-making processes. We even got to make a mask during our Costume Workshop taught by Rosa Lazaro. We build a flat [I even cut, stapled and glued the wood myself!] during the Scenes Workshop taught by USF staff and even painted the flat with a variety of techniques we learned during the Painting Workshop taught by Russ Saxton. And…? We were able to take the projects home to share with our students!

Tech for Teachers. The second day, we learned all about Lighting, Sound, Hair & Makeup as well as Stage Management as taught by USF staff.  During Hair & Makeup, we learned to measure someone for a wig and how to modify an existing wig.  We had a rain day so the Lighting workshop wasn’t what staff had prepared so we went over different types of lights, asked her questions and I learned I get to do a 1 to 1 check on all of our stage and house lights to see why we haven’t been able to patch everything to the board despite our earnest efforts and assistance from district specialists. We also got to see the amazing LED lights that have started to replace many of the traditional lights. During Stage Management, we practiced marking a script and setting a stage for cues and props. I was also able to ask how to mark center on my unusual stage called a KIVA.  I learned it would be easier to triangulate the space. This will be fun!

Tech for Teachers. The third day was all about Props, PR & Networking. During a free lunch, we played STUMP the Techie! It was a chance to further our networking skills and ask questions about our individual spaces and operations.  I was very grateful for the Custodian at our school who graciously took pictures for me of EVERYTHING so I could get lots of answers.  

Utah Shakespeare Festival. A wonderful thing of both classes what the free ticket they provide the participants.  Theatre Methods sent us to Romeo & Juliet.  The tech class offered the opportunity to not only watch Shakespeare in Love but to shadow backstage/booth for As You Like It.  A last-minute decision made it even possible for me to shadow Treasure Island, where they even trusted me with a headset:)!  The staff at USF for these shows was amazing to work with and to learn from.  

In addition to the plays offered for the classes, UACCTT provided a ticket for As You Like It so I not only got to shadow, I actually got to see it.  This was especially special because I could see the changes in lighting, sound and props more than ever.   Because of all the plays I got to see as part of the classes/conference, I was able to pay for two more shows! I saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream and even one of my favorite musicals, Guys & Dolls!  What amazing experiences!!

At the tail end of the tech class, UACCTT began.  This was all about meeting and greeting and building a network with other theatre teachers.  Here too was a variety of workshops.  This time, I was able to perform Pantomime for the first time and participate in Devised Theatre.  One of the workshops was with Rosa again all about makeup and costumes on a budget.  I also got to meet with other first year theatre teachers, grab some amazing theatre resources for my students, was given my first massage and even got to take home some new (new to me anyway) stage lights!

My mind is so full of amazing ideas, my heart is so full of gratitude for the experience.  If you have never been or it has been a while, I would go to the Utah Shakespeare Festival and find something for you.