More than 300 Chicagoland high school students unite in

Chicago Shakespeare Slam 2017

Finals Bout on Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Stage on December 11


Chicago—December 5, 2017—Next week, Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) brings together more than 300 high school students from 47 public, private and parochial schools across the region for this year’s Chicago Shakespeare Slam. A series of Saturday workshops and regional preliminary bouts throughout the fall culminate in a raucous and fun-filled Finals Bout on Monday, December 11 at 6:00 p.m. on CST’s Courtyard Theater stage.  Emcees warm up the crowd and an onstage DJ drops beats as nine teams perform, cheered on by a full house of fellow participants, classmates and friends. This year’s Finals Bout performances will be overseen by a star-studded panel of judges (special guests to be announced).

Slam teams advancing to the Finals Bout on December 11 include: Fenton Community High School (Bensenville), Gallery 37 (Chicago), Huntley High School (Huntley), Lindblom Math and Science Academy (Chicago), Mundelein High School (Mundelein), Niles North High School (Skokie), Rich Central High School (Olympia Fields), Senn Arts High School (Chicago), and Warren Township High School (Gurnee).

A new national model for a community-building education program, Chicago Shakespeare Slam brings together students from Chicago Public Schools, suburban public schools, and private and parochial schools in a supportive and fun environment, building a culture of community that spans the Chicago region.

Inspired by the electric energy of poetry slams, this robust arts-in-education initiative challenges ensembles of 2-8 students to perform pieces in two slam rounds:

  • In the first round, a scene from any play in Shakespeare’s canon.
  • In the second, a creative exploration inspired by one play that the entire Slam community is focusing on that year—the same play that Chicago Shakespeare is abridging and staging for student audiences. This year, students explore Shakespeare’s comedy of teen angst and love madness, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

By playing with the endless possible interpretations of the text and thinking outside the box, students discover Shakespeare’s capacity to speak to everyone.

After the Slam Finals Bout in December, the community will reunite to dialogue with cast members of Chicago Shakespeare’s Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream (presented in The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, February 3–March 10, 2017 with public performances on Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.).

Chicago Shakespeare Slam is just one component of the Theater’s award-winning education programs, which have impacted two million students to date. Chicago Shakespeare Theater brings Shakespeare’s text to life for thousands of students every year, and offers celebrated professional development programs and curriculum resources for more than 2,500 teachers annually. Chicago Shakespeare’s education programming has been honored with the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, presented by First Lady Michelle Obama in a 2014 White House ceremony, and the Folger Shakespeare Library’s national Shakespeare Steward Award for innovative teaching of Shakespeare in classrooms. 

The public, private and parochial high schools throughout Chicago and the metropolitan area participating in Chicago Shakespeare Slam 2017 are:

Alcott College Prep, Chicago Morgan Park Academy, Chicago
Benet Academy, Lisle Multicultural Academy of Scholarship, Chicago
Benito Juarez Community Academy, Chicago Mundelein High School, Mundelein
Canterbury School, Fort Wayne Niles North High School, Skokie
Carl Sandburg High School, Orland Park Noble Street College Prep, Chicago
Chicago High School for the Arts, Chicago O-School, Chicago
Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, Chicago Oak Park & River Forest High School, Oak Park
Crystal Lake South High School, Crystal Lake Ogden International High School, Chicago
De La Salle Institute, Chicago Orr Academy High School, Chicago
Elk Grove High School, Elk Grove Village Our Lady of Tepeyac High School, Chicago
Eric Solorio Academy High School, Chicago Prosser Career Academy, Chicago
Fenton Community High School, Bensenville Proviso West High School, Hillside
Francis W. Parker School, Chicago Rich Central High School, Olympia Fields
Gallery 37, Chicago Ridgewood High School, Norridge
George Washington High School, Chicago RTC Medical Preparatory High School, Chicago
George Westinghouse College Prep, Chicago Senn Arts High School, Chicago
Glenbrook South High School, Glenview Simeon Career Academy High School, Chicago
Homewood Flossmoor High School, Flossmoor Sullivan House High School, Chicago
Huntley High School, Huntley Taft High School, Chicago
Islamic Foundation School, Villa Park Von Steuben Metropolitan Science Center, Chicago
John Hancock College Prep, Chicago Warren Township High School, Gurnee
Kenwood Academy High School, Chicago Waukegan High School, Waukegan
Lincoln Park High School, Chicago Westmont High School, Westmont
Lindblom Math and Science Academy, Chicago  


More information on the program at

A global theatrical force, Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) is known for vibrant productions that reflect Shakespeare’s genius for storytelling, musicality of language, and empathy for the human condition. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Executive Director Criss Henderson, Chicago Shakespeare has redefined what a great American Shakespeare theater can be, putting forward a company that delights in the unexpected and defies theatrical category. A Regional Tony Award-winning theater, CST produces acclaimed plays at its home on Navy Pier, throughout Chicago’s schools and neighborhoods, and on stages around the world. In 2017, the Theater unveiled a new stage, The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare. Together with the Jentes Family Courtyard Theater and the Thoma Theater Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare, The Yard positions CST as the city’s most versatile performing arts venue.





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