High School Students from all over Maryland filled every seat within the historic bank building that houses The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company. With tall coffered ceilings in gold and turquoise and a unique style of bench seating surrounding the stage that ensured every audience member had a great seat, the venue had an intimate and friendly atmosphere.
One of Arts Every Day’s Partner Schools, City Neighbors High School, brought along around 25 Honors and AP English students to see the last (35th!) performance of Romeo and Juliet of the season.
To help fill the time as buses arrive, actors sang songs on stage that featured the characters from the play, like Taylor Swift’s Love Story, which got the audience singing and clapping along and set the tone for a fun and relaxed ambiance. When every seat was filled, the show got started with a brief welcome and introduction from Chesapeake Shakespeare Company’s Director of Education, Ron Heneghan.
The simple stage design and minimalistic props were vividly engaged by the actors whose energy expertly activated the entire stage. With adaptations that added some modern twists to the original play, students’ attentions were strongly held with plenty of room for action and laughter. It was refreshing to see how the actors interacted with and responded to the audience members throughout the performance for a distinctively immersive experience.
After the performance, students were introduced to the actors and had the opportunity to ask questions about the play and the different elements that when into the production such as, “Were the costumes made in-house?” or “What other plays have the actors performed in?”. The time allotted at the end of the show for questions and answers helped students gain a better understanding and appreciation of both the play and Shakespeare.
Everyone at The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company seem to genuinely enjoy what they do. The energy that the cast and crew embraces you with from the moment you walk through the doors, you know students will definitely be in for a memorable experience and a wonderful chance to expand on the learning process. A hidden gem in Baltimore which is very affordable thanks to supporters like the NEA, MSAC, and BGE (just to name a few!) The Chesapeake Shakespeare Company is one school trip teachers won’t want to miss out on!