HISD elementary school students to perform at Shakespeare Festival

Wearing theatrical costumes and practicing their best Old English accents, approximately 100 elementary theater students from five HISD schools on Saturday will perform kid-friendly adaptations of select plays by William Shakespeare during HISD’s first-ever Shakespeare Festival for Elementary Schools.

This free event, which will be held at Tanglewood Middle School (5215 San Felipe St., Houston, 77056) from 2 to 4:30 p.m., coincides with Shakespeare’s birth and death month. It is a culmination of theater coursework for Crespo, Patterson, Poe, Herod and Sinclair elementary school students during the 2017-18 spring semester.  

“When students participate in the rehearsal process and the performance of a play, they gain skills that will serve them for their entire lives,” Curriculum Specialist for Theater Jared Berry said. “Listening, teamwork, working with a deadline, taking and using constructive criticism are all things that adults do or deal with daily. These are all skills that theatre provides.”

Each school will perform a 20- to 25-minute adaptation of a Shakespeare play. The adaptations, written by playwright Brendan Kelso, are designed to engage young children with Shakespeare’s works.

“All the plays are written to be melodramatic and at a level for the kids to understand,” Kelso said. “Several of Shakespeare’s famous lines are sprinkled throughout each script so kids get a flavor of The Bard’s voice without overwhelming them with the complexity around the language.”

More than 150 people are expected to attend. The Shakespeare Festival for Elementary Schools is open to the public.