Student Experience Shakespeare in Living Color
By: Katie Portier, Terrebonne Foundation for Academic Excellence
HOUMA, LA – For thousands of years, audiences have filled theaters waiting for an experience that, if only for a moment, would transport them to another world.
Nearly 300 South Terrebonne High School English students were able to understand that feeling this past Wednesday as they visited the Shakespeare Festival at Tulane University to experience MacBeth.
“It’s important for us to expose our students to the live experience of Shakespeare’s works,” Katy Ledet, STHS English teacher, said. “Thought we study his plays in class, it is imperative for students to understand that these plays were written to be heard and seen rather than read.”
The trip was funded by Terrebonne Foundation for Academic Excellence (TFAE) through an Innovative Ed-Venture Grant, sponsored by Apache Corporation and Tony and Char Herques. Ledet submitted a grant proposal for the trip during TFAE’s annual grant process.
“We felt this project was a wonderful opportunity to challenge students to see beyond the words on paper and become immersed in the arts,” Katie Portier, TFAE Executive Director, said. “It was also an opportunity for students to visit a college campus and become inspired and intrigued by the excitement of a live theatre performance.”
Ledet said this experience was all about exposure for the students. While even if they did not completely understand the language used in Shakespeare’s play, they were able to experience how other factors are important in a live theatre.
“There is something special about feeling the emotion of actors as they become the characters in these legendary plays,” Ledet said. “Hearing the tone, seeing the sets and costumes, and feeling the excitement of the theatre is a unique experience that all young adults should experience. For many of our students, this is the only opportunity they will get for that experience.”
Back in the classroom, Ledet’s English II students started reading MacBeth the day after their trip. For the first time, Ledet said her students were truly excited to study Shakespeare’s works, having started to relate the scenes they were reading to the scenes they saw live.
“This experience went beyond my expectations,” Ledet said. “I was so proud to have our school represented at this performance and was impressed with how much our students took back from the play. They truly were appreciative and excited about the experience.”