In 2017 Chicago Shakespeare Theater launched a new education program—the Chicago Shakespeare Slam—a high school Shakespeare slam-style competition that invites students to dive deep into a shared text—and do so through an infinite number of lenses crafted out of students’ own imaginations. First and foremost an ensemble program, the Chicago Shakespeare Slam aims to build community first among the members of a school’s team, and second between the many schools’ teams participating across the Chicago region.
Chicago Shakespeare Slam evolved from a number of education programs here at Chicago Shakespeare and beyond—including a ten-year-long, national award-winning program, called CPS Shakespeare. CST’s Education Department partnered with CPS high school teachers and students in this after-school program that brought an intergenerational ensemble of students and their teachers together to create an original Shakespeare production. In 2014, the program was honored in a White House ceremony, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama.