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Intellect

Utah teachers get enhanced Shakespeare insights at BYU workshop

As summer reaches its peak, twenty K‒12 public school teachers from throughout Utah recently completed a workshop designed to sharpen their teaching abilities on Shakespeare and his works under the direction of Wade Hollingshaus, a professor of theatre and media arts at Brigham Young University.

The July workshop — sponsored by the BYU Center for the Study of Europe using grant funds from the U.S. Department of Education — centered around three plays: “Richard III,” “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “Romeo and Juliet.”

Participants met for a full day of instruction at BYU’s Museum of Art, where they learned pedagogical methods for teaching Shakespeare as a “visual text.”

“Shakespeare is often approached as a literary object, but there is much to be gained by exploring the inherent visuality of his plays,” Hollingshaus said. “His language conjures images for us to encounter — images that penetrate our daily lives.”

Participants then spent two days attending actual performances of the plays at the Utah Shakespeare Festival in Cedar City. “Although I have attended the Shakespeare Festival many times, the pre- and post-discussions provided by the workshop allowed me to see the plays in a new visual perspective,” said Janet Yerzy, a teacher at Midvale Elementary.

Christine Hoopes, a teacher at American Fork High School, agreed.

“We had a fabulous experience!” she said. “The discussions and professional insight shared by Dr. Hollingshaus enhanced our insight into the plays and the world of Shakespeare.”

For more information about events regarding European studies, contact the BYU Center for the Study of Europe in 216 HRCB at (801) 422-6277 or cse@byu.edu.

Writer: Ben Hansen

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