By Dillon Thomas
DENVER (CBS4) – In an effort to expose more children to theater, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts assembled a traveling team of actors.
The team, called “Shakespeare in the Parking Lot,” takes their show on the road, performing at local schools and parks.
“Shakespeare is for everyone. It can pop up, and perform in your parking lot,” said Allison Watrous, Executive Director of Education for the DCPA.
Using an old Ford pickup truck as their set, cast members perform iconic Shakespeare plays like “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
Characters climb on the truck, named Roslyn, to give students the idea of a backdrop.
“(Roslyn) is just as much a character in the show as anyone else,” said Quinn Marchman, one of the actors.
The team puts a unique twist on the performance in an attempt to make it more modern and applicable to students.
“I think it translates really well, in terms of reaching out to young audiences, because they see that (characters are) not in weird clothes,” said Jenna Moll Reyes, and actress. “It is all about really getting the students to talk, and to share with us their thoughts and opinions.”
The team then visits school classrooms, allowing students to further engage in the process of understanding Shakespeare’s writing.
In a recent performance at a park in downtown Denver, the crew was able to connect the 413-year-old play they performed with children under the age of 10.
“My favorite part was Herma, being in love with him,” said Aspen Belts, a 6-year-old Shakespeare enthusiast. “She was so passionate.”
“I think it is really important that my son, and younger youth, come to these events so they can know Shakespeare,” said Emily Myers, who brought her son Oliver to the performance.
The DCPA plans to visit many more schools with their performances, from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs, by the end of the school year.
Dillon Thomas is a reporter at CBS4 and a Colorado native. He believes everyone has a story, and would love to share yours! You can find more of his stories by following him on Twitter, @DillonMThomas.