Edward’s Spring Awakening

by Edward Daranyi, Resident Teaching Artist

At the end of March I spent eight glorious days doing professional-development work in England with Tim Carroll and his Factory Theatre and at the Mid-Wales Shakespeare Centre.

One purpose of my trip was to recharge my batteries as a teacher and director before the Festival season gets into full swing. I also wanted to acquire more specific skills in the area of theatrical creation and learn how to use those skills to develop learning strategies that teachers and teaching artists can use in the classroom or during Prologues here at the Festival.

I arrived on a spectacular morning in Oxford (they were enjoying the same beautiful weather we had here in Ontario) and jumped into rehearsals with the Factory company. They were rehearsing a new project, The Odyssey. At the same time, half of the company was also performing Hamlet at the historic Blackwell’s Bookshop. I saw the final four performances of Hamlet; The Odyssey opened the following week.

 Hamlet was a completely new experience every night, not only because the audience got to determine the casting two minutes before the show began, but also because the audience provided the company with all of the props they would use during the play. Each performance was electrifying, every seat filled with patrons from eight to eighty, some of whom had been to see the company in other places and some who were making their second and third trips to see this show, each time bringing different friends with them.

One night I was invited to play Fortinbras. It was both terrifying and exhilarating and I knew I was in good hands with the Factory company, which made it all go smoothly. But what I most enjoyed about the Factory experience was watching the audience. Not one person sat back with folded arms or, as occasionally happens in Stratford after a big lunch, nodded off. They sat on the edges of their seats, throwing their energy at the stage and being active in the story we were sharing. I learned a great deal about my own journey as an artist and as a teacher through the clarity, honesty and immediacy that the Factory company bring to their work. They truly are in service to the story in word, thought and deed.

After rehearsals for The Odyssey during the day and watching Hamlet in the evening, I was whisked off to Wales to plot and scheme with my dear friends Phil Bowen and Sue Best at the Mid-Wales Shakespeare Centre. The Centre is located in one of the most magical places on earth, and although it was a quick visit to talk about educational strategies I did manage to see some old friends and partake in something I won’t soon forget: lambing! The Centre is located on a working organic farm and, as luck would have it, my visit happened during lambing season. One evening I not only witnessed but also participated in the process. I won’t subject you to all the gory details, but let’s just say there was a rubber glove, a pair of runners that were promptly thrown in the trash, a new lamb named Eddie and something I never thought I would put on my “BTDT list.”

Mission accomplished: I arrived back home re-energized and ready to hit the ground running during the incredible 60th season at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

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Job Opportunity – Education Coordinator

Would you like to play a meaningful role with North America’s leading classical repertory theatre? At the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, we attract the world’s finest talent, offering a unique experience for staff, artists, and actors alike. If you would like to be a part of this exciting organization, we are looking for someone to fill the role of…

Education Coordinator

Reporting to the Director of Education, you will be responsible for organizing, coordinating and executing education and enrichment programs. You will organize &/or conduct workshops, courses, presentations, conferences and ancillary events relating to the Festival playbill with particular attention to the works of William Shakespeare and arts education in general. In addition, the Coordinator assists in the researching and writing of copy for Stratford Festival publications and web content including study guides and teacher resource materials.

Applicants must possess an undergraduate degree in English, Drama or Fine Arts or have equivalent training &/or experience. Formal teacher training is preferred. You have excellent written, organizational and problem solving skills. Experience in public speaking, the ability to communicate effectively – both verbally and in writing – are essential. Proficiency in the Microsoft office environment is required. Preference will be given to candidates with experience working with or teaching students (both adults and children) in an educational &/or recreational setting. Some travel, evening and weekend work is required.

This full time position will not commence until August 22, 2011 allowing the Education department to complete their summer programming.

We recognize that diversity- in our workplace, in our audiences and on our stages- fosters a rich and creative environment. We are actively engaged in building a more diverse workplace and encourage all qualified applicants to apply by May 23, 2011 to;

Human Resources
Stratford Shakespeare Festival
Fax: 519-271-0626
55 Queen Street
Stratford, Ontario N5A 6V2
E-mail: resumes@stratfordshakespearefestival.com
Subject: Education Coordinator