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NKY Students to Participate in Week-Long Theater Festival in Cincinnati

Northern Kentucky schools will play a big role in a first-time ever, week-long free festival of student performances of Shakespeare plays in downtown Cincinnati beginning April 15.

Almost 40 schools are participating from across Greater Cincinnati including nine local schools and more than 100 Northern Kentucky students showcased in Cincinnati Shakespeare Company's Project 38. Performances will be at Memorial Hall (adjacent to Music Hall), with outdoor performances at Washington Park.

Notre Dame Academy senior Megan Kathman has been at the center of the academy’s entry. Teacher Linda Bricking says Megan volunteered last year to be part of the Project 38 kickoff event. 

“Since then she has tasked herself with re-writing The Winter's Tale” (a fantasy romance of love, madness, loss, redemption and love found), casting it and working tirelessly to produce and direct it.”

Megan integrated some original student writing with Shakespeare’s text for a short adaptation that’s part-farce, part-reality TV, part-Shakesperean tragicomedy.

With a dozen young actresses from the all-girl school, exaggerating both comedy and drama was an obvious choice, Megan said. “This is where the strength of our actresses lies, and what we ultimately wanted to emphasize.”

Bricking says the project has been a challenging learning experience and an adventure for the entire acting company. Megan agrees, “Many of us have never gotten a chance to work with Shakespearian theatre before and this is a very exciting opportunity for us all.”

At Bellevue High School, Julius Caesar is the largest production the school’s young theater program has ever attempted, with a cast of 26 from grades 7-12.

Teacher Jennifer Biddle and her students read the play together like a book club. They discussed it, shared ideas, she took notes and adapted it to a modern telling.

Working on the project has introduced many younger students to Shakespeare, says Biddle. "It is has helped us grow immensely this year. Working on this has offered my students the opportunity to grow as students of literature, expand their acting experience and develop an appreciation and understanding of Shakespeare.”

The most common question students ask, Biddle laughs, is "‘Why does Shakespeare kill so many people off?’"

Project 38 includes full-length plays, excerpts, adaptations, dance, multi-media and exhibitions. For a complete schedule and information, visit http://cincyshakes.com/project38/

Here’s a chronological list and short descriptions of Northern Kentucky school performances:

Thursday, April 16

Campbell County High School, scenes from The Two Noble Kinsmen. 12-12:30 p.m., Memorial Hall

Dixie Heights High School, scenes from Romeo & Juliet. 3:30-4 p.m. Memorial Hall

Friday, April 17

Simon Kenton High School, Hamlet, multi-media presentation with elements of dance, poetry and more. 5-5:30 p.m., Washington Park Civic Lawn

Covington Catholic High School, Timon of Athens, filmed performance of a contemporary adapted script. 5:30-6:15 p.m. Memorial Hall

Saturday, April 18

Bellevue High School, The Ides of March: An Adaptation of the Tragedy of Julius Caesar. 7-9 p.m., Memorial Hall

Sunday, April 19

Villa Madonna Academy, scenes from Henry VI, Pts 1, 2, & 3. 2:30-3:30 p.m., Washington Park Civic Lawn

Monday, April 20

Campbell Regional Juvenile Detention Center, King Lear, a filmed performance of the storm scene. 2:30-3 p.m., Memorial Hall

Tuesday, April 21

Notre Dame Academy, contemporary adaptation of The Winter’s Tale, 2-2:30 p.m., Memorial Hall

Covington Latin High School, The Merry Wives of Windsor. 5-7 p.m., Memorial Hall

- Story by Jackie Demaline, RCN contributor/Photo: Student from Villa Madonna participating in Project 38 (Cincinnati Shakespeare Co.)

Slideshow Images & Captions: 
Megan Kathman