A Collaborative High School Theatre Festival
The 6th Annual Shakes-Peers Festival will be held in January, 2025. Please contact our Executive Artistic Director Jeremiah Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in registering your high school students for this festival.
Area high school students faced off in a Shakespeare monologue slam as The People’s Shakespeare Project held its 5th Annual Shakes-Peers Festival on Wednesday, January 24 at the Ware Center. Students from high schools, including Ephrata, Lancaster Country Day, Linden Hall, McCaskey, and York Country Day faced off to see who could do the best Shakespeare monologue. Student actors and their teachers also participated in acting classes and workshops. Finally, true to the festival’s title, TPSP started to “shake” things up by placing each student in a small group of their “peers” from other high schools to rehearse and perform Shakespeare scenes on the fly. The public was invited to attend the students’ final performances at the Shakes-Peers Showcase beginning at 2 p.m. at the Ware Center.
The first Shakes-Peers Festival was held just before the Covid-19 shutdowns in 2020. The chief organizer of the festival was then-board member Jeremiah Miller who now serves as TPSP’s Executive Artistic Director. In 2021, Shakes-peers went virtual, and, like most educational programming, has been in rebuilding mode ever since. But this year, the festival is fully back and stronger than ever, with a lineup of highly credentialed theatre professionals instructing the students.
Serving as adjudicators for the students’ monologue competition were Donna Schilke and Todd Lawson. Mr. Lawson was a member of the cast of “Summer and Smoke” on Broadway and has appeared in numerous Off-Broadway and regional productions. His television credits include “Blue Bloods,” “When They See Us,” “Elementary” and “Orange is the New Black.” Ms. Schilke has appeared in such TPSP productions as “Macbeth,” “As You Like It,” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”. In addition to her other local appearances at Servant Stage, Cavod, and Sight & Sound, she is a well-traveled performer, having recently returned from the Winnipesaukee Playhouse in New Hampshire where she played the title role in “Driving Miss Daisy.”
The young people attending Shakes-Peers were given acting instruction through a workshop conducted by Marion Wood O’Sullivan. Formerly based out of New York, Ms. Wood performed Off-Broadway and in several regional theatres. She earned her MFA in Theatre at the American Repertory Theatre/ Moscow Art Theatre/ Harvard University. Meanwhile, the teachers attending the festival will join a roundtable discussion on Shakespeare education led by Kristin Wolanin. You may have recently seen her in TPSP productions of “The Winter’s Tale,” “Julia Caesar,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” and “Witch.” A graduate of DeSales University with a BA in Theatre and a minor in History, she earned her MFA in acting from Southern Methodist University.