Tackling bullying in Colorado schools with bilingual Shakespeare and all-female cast

The Colorado Shakespeare Festival is taking its all-female, bilingual tour of The Taming of the Shrew to Colorado schools.

The Taming of the Shrew is the latest title in CSF’s Shakespeare & Violence Prevention series, which combines live performance and classroom workshops - using the latest bullying and violence prevention research - to empower students to become “upstanders” vs. “bystanders” when they see bullying happen around them.

The tour, aimed at third- through 12th-graders, continues through Nov. 4. It will be staged at more than 30 schools and reach about 6,000 students.

“This project sparks conversations about empathy,” says CSF Director of Outreach Amanda Giguere. “When students see a Shakespeare play that incorporates Spanish-speaking characters, performed by a diverse all-female cast, their expectations are disrupted and they’re able to connect to the story in a fresh, meaningful way.”

Each school visit includes a 50-minute performance of an abridged Shakespeare play and classroom workshops after the performance, led by CSF Teaching Artists. The workshops are developed in consultation with the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence and Safe2Tell, an anonymous tip line program for young people, and they use theater and role-playing techniques to help students brainstorm and rehearse creative solutions to the mistreatment they see around them using the play and its characters as a template.

Since 2011, the project has mounted abridged productions of Twelfth NightMuch Ado About Nothing, The Tempest and The Taming of the Shrew for more than 72,000 Colorado students.

Now in its sixth year, Shakespeare & Violence Prevention is a collaboration between the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, a professional theater company based at CU Boulder; the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, a division of CU Boulder’s Institute of Behavioral Science; Safe2Tell; and the Department of Theatre & Dance at CU Boulder. The anti-violence school tour is funded in part by a CU Boulder Outreach Award, the Boulder Arts Commission, the CU Boulder College of Arts and Sciences, White Wave Foods and Haynes and Boone LLC.

“We are proud of the way this production reflects the diversity of the schools we visit and expands a student’s understanding of Shakespeare,” Giguere said.

Tour schedule:

Tuesday, Oct. 4          Centennial Middle (Boulder)

Wednesday, Oct. 5       Eagle Crest Elementary (Longmont)

Thursday, Oct. 6         Aspen Ridge Prep School (Erie)

Friday, Oct. 7            Centennial Elementary (Broomfield)

                                    Lafayette Elementary (Lafayette)

Tuesday, Oct. 11         Montclair School of Academics and Enrichment (Denver)

Wednesday, Oct. 12   Alpine Elementary (Longmont)

Thursday, Oct. 13        Shepherd Valley Waldorf (Niwot)

                                    Longs Peak Middle (Longmont)

Friday, Oct. 14             Two Roads Charter School (Arvada)

Tuesday, Oct. 18         Northglenn High (Northglenn)

Wednesday, Oct. 19   Cottonwood Creek Elementary (Englewood)

                                    McKinley-Thatcher Elementary (Denver)

Thursday, Oct. 20        Nederland Elementary (Nederland)

Friday, Oct. 21             Whittier Elementary (Boulder)

                                    Sacred Heart of Jesus School (Boulder)

Tuesday, Oct. 25         Imagine Classical Academy (Colo. Springs)

Wednesday, Oct. 26   Sunset Middle (Longmont)

Thursday, Oct. 27        Int’l School of Denver

                                    Montessori School of Denver

Friday, Oct. 28             Angevine Middle (Lafayette)

Tuesday, Nov. 1          Munroe Elementary (Denver)

Wednesday, Nov. 2     Friends’ School (Boulder)

Thursday, Nov. 3         Steck Elementary (Denver)

Friday, Nov. 4            Shining Mountain Waldorf (Boulder)

                                    St. Vrain Community Montessori (Longmont)