Chicago Shakespeare Slam

“Working as an ensemble allows our own voice to shine through with the decisions we choose to make as a group—definitely memorable and fun. It felt so nice to be "back" and bond as a group even though it was through a screen. It definitely enhanced my senior year by a ton! Forever one of my favorite high-school activities!!!”

–Student, Kennedy High School, Chicago

“The Slam experience is always a highlight of the year for our students. The confidence and satisfaction they get from tackling Shakespeare and coming to understand that they can handle this material is always a joy to watch as a teacher. This year it was particularly important because there were so many other things that these students lost, that having the SLAM to work on, albeit in a different format, was a godsend.”

–Teacher, Mundelein High School, Mundelein

Teams representing high schools from across the region will collaborate this fall to celebrate the enduring power of Shakespeare—and their own voices—in CST’s fifth annual Chicago Shakespeare Slam. Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, the SLAM program goes remote again for one more year, culminating in a collaborative, filmed production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, to be shared in January online—and, we hope, on our stage...

Now, the autumn of 2021, is indisputably, irrefutably time for a comedy, a chance to laugh together at some of Shakespeare’s most playfully confused characters—and all that they conjure up in their resemblances to us… Irrational, blind love. Unleashed, overpowering jealousy. BFFs turned archenemies. Swirling circumstances beyond our control And parents with their own (sometimes) off-base notions. Sound familiar? It did to us, and we thought it might to some among our SLAM community—and would definitely provide fodder for creative play.

As teams rehearse back at school throughout the fall, we’ll gather, virtually, for a series of workshop and community- and skill-building gatherings on Saturdays. Each team will rehearse, perform, and record its contribution to the SLAM community’s unique staging of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Their recorded scenes, edited together into one unique “Dream” will re-imagine Shakespeare’s story, inextricably bound to the students’ own stories as their lives continue to collide with history in the making.

The Chicago Shakespeare Slam is, more than anything, an ensemble program—building community, within a school’s team and among the many teams participating from across our entire region. Together, participants have the opportunity to dive deep into a shared text—and do so through an infinite number of lenses crafted out of students’ own imaginations.

The 2021/22 SLAM Schools

Benet Academy, Lisle
Bishop Noll Institute, Hammond
Chicago High School for the Arts, Chicago
Francis W. Parker School, Chicago
Hancock College Preparatory High School, Chicago
Homewood-Flossmoor High School, Flossmoor
Infinity Math, Science and Technology High School, Chicago
John F. Kennedy High School, Chicago
Kenwood Academy High School, Chicago
Lincoln Park High School, Chicago
Lindblom Math and Science Academy, Chicago
Morgan Park Academy, Chicago
Multicultural Arts School, Chicago
Mundelein High School, Mundelein
New Trier High School, Winnetka

Niles North High School, Skokie
Oak Park and River Forest High School, Oak Park
Orr Academy High School, Chicago
O-School, Chicago
Prosser Career Academy, Chicago
Proviso West High School, Hillside
Rickover Naval Academy, Chicago
Round Lake High School, Round Lake
Senn Arts High School, Chicago
Simeon Career Academy, Chicago
South Shore International College
Preparatory High School, Chicago
Sullivan House High School, Chicago
Tri-Point High School, Cullom
University of Chicago Laboratory School, Chicago
Warren Township High School, Gurnee


“Shakespeare Slam brings out the best in my students: they engage more, think more, and learn more from this experience than from traditional classroom instruction. Witnessing my students' transformative growth and genuine delight has inspired me to create more project-based learning experiences within the curriculum. The Shakespeare Slam inspires me to imagine what's possible—to take more risks, to build more intentional community, and to give young people more voice and choice in the classroom. Chicago Shakespeare Theater has created a program that changes everyone who experiences it—not only students, but also teachers.”

–Teacher, Little Village Lawndale High School, Chicago


Lead Sponsors


  Kimberlee Herold

  Neal and Jennifer Reenan

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