FPU, Woodward Festival join forces to bring Shakespeare to area teens
The YES! Project brings together FPU and the Woodward Shakespeare Festival to introduce young people to the works of the Bard and the joy of theater.
The YES! (Youth Engage Shakespeare) Project will be July 29 through August 16. Sessions meet at the main FPU campus, 1717 S. Chestnut Ave., Fresno, and the camp culminates in a public performance at Woodward Park, 7775 Friant Rd., Fresno.
The camp is open to all high school students, including those entering high school in the fall and those who just graduated. No theater or Shakespeare experience is necessary. “Enthusiasm is our only requirement,” said Julia Reimer, associate professor of theater at FPU and YES! Project coordinator. Other staff members include Brooke Aiello, co-facilitator, and Trevor Thomas and Misty Ann Stewart, FPU student interns.
The approach is “on your feet” Shakespeare. "Young people will learn Shakespearean scenes in a fun, interactive way and develop original scenes based on Shakespeare's plays,” Reimer said.
The combination of classic and original scenes will be performed on the Festival Stage at Woodward Park at 7:00 p.m. Friday, August 16. Admission is free.
The cost of the camp is $45 and scholarships are available, thanks to grants from the Rotary Club of Fresno and the North Fresno Rotary Club. “Our goal is to make Shakespeare accessible and available to all, in keeping with the Woodward Shakespeare Festival mission,” Reimer said. Registration information is available at fresno.edu/department/theater/yes-project.
The Woodward Shakespeare Festival is looking for ways to extend its reach by building an education program, and the university has a growing summer camp program. “It makes sense to partner with FPU," said Reimer, who has been member of the WSF board and is currently on the artistic team.