In Their Own Words

“I wanted to be involved again (and hopefully again and again!) because I witnessed how the program changes the lives of our young people. I’ve incorporated a great deal of our work into my classroom teaching style. From confidence-building to collaborative skill building, the program helps students develop and refine their voices. They grow in confidence and maturity, and I enjoy having a front row seat to this change.”
–Teacher, Mather High School

“I have learned that deep down inside, we all have a clown. We all can learn to be 10X the person we are while remaining the person we are. I learned that I can be so much more open, and can truly speak publicly without fear. I know who I can really be, the true me. There are so many nice people in the world, tall and short, dark, light, south and north siders. Now in this ensemble we are all one, something that is hard to accomplish.”
–Junior, Gage Park High School

“I participated in this program last year and its transformational power brought me back. This experience has whole-heartedly changed my point of view about reading Shakespeare. I feel so much better prepared to bring Shakespeare to my students, and it was honestly the only reason I was confident enough to direct our school’s first Shakespeare play last spring. It is a joy to follow this same journey as the students do and take part in a process where there is no “expert.” I love to take part in scenes with students from different schools and experience how easily they encourage and support each other.”
–Teacher, Multicultural Academy of Scholarship

“I honestly didn’t think my teacher made the right choice in picking me to be part of something like this. But then I realized maybe he knows me better than I thought. I guess I gave this project a chance because deep down I wanted it to change me. I’ve learned from other students that this program will help you in all types of ways. I’ve learned that I hold myself back. I’ve learned that the thought of being a free person scared me. But now I’m not scared of being free.”
–Sophomore, Perspectives Charter—IIT Math & Science Academy

“Five years after participating in the pilot year of CPS Shakespeare! I am back in a program that I consider one of the most important educational programs in history. The discussions we have regarding the text are a teacher’s dream. The students dig so deeply into the text and find such subtle, new ways of looking at certain lines. There is no aspect of my point of view regarding the reading of Shakespeare that has not been completely changed. There is no other way to connect so deeply to the characters. The text must be viewed with an eye sharper than any standardized test can measure.”
–Teacher, Al Raby School for Community & Environment

“I’ve learned how someone’s life outside this play can really influence how we put the play together, especially when that person connects themselves with the play or even the characters they are playing. My favorite moments are when we’re working on text work together, and we’re just going over things and telling each other the discoveries we’ve made.”
–Junior, Curie Metropolitan High School"

“My experience here has changed the way I teach everything, and Shakespeare. I know that I can teach the most difficult text, to any student, because that is what we do here. The value my students see in this project led them to start a robust after-school drama program with me. They demanded, and now take part in, a credited drama class as a part of their school day. CPS Shakespeare! reminds me of what is possible in my classroom, in my school, and in my students’ lives each day.”
–Teacher, Gage Park High School

“I’ve done acting classes before but that doesn’t compare in any way, shape or form to what I am learning here. I’ve learned that I can be confident about myself no matter my situation. The exercises the director has us doing show me I can be proud of who I am and confident to be that person as long as I am open to my surroundings and aware.”
–Senior, Steinmetz College Prep

“Because I’ve done this program twice prior to this year, it was a no-brainer to return. This program has become a part of my life and coming back was like going home during summer break from college: Chicago Shakespeare Theater is my home. William Shakespeare is the king of all that is playwriting and poetry. It’s always amazing to me when I think about how long ago his plays and poems were written and yet we are here in the 21st century still learning from his work.”
–Senior, Phillips Academy High School


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