BOTB 2016 Overview
Program Goals and Outcomes
By participating in Battle of the Bard®. students learn to:
1. examine Shakespeare’s text closely, both to construct meaning and to make interpretative performance choices supported by the text.
2. make character choices that are authentic to the individual student and connected to the text, using the actor’s tools (voice, body and mind).
3. participate as a collaborative ensemble member, both within their school team and within the larger BOTB community.
4. develop and practice social-emotional learning skills that can be applied both on- and off-stage.
Participating schools receive language and performance-based curricular resources, aligned with Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts and the newly released National Core Arts Standards. In addition to these online resources, hands-on workshops are offered regionally and are designed to engage students and teachers together, helping teachers bring Shakespeare to life . Breakout sessions include text analysis, voice, movement, and the actor/ audience relationship.
Giving Back | About Team Sponsorship
Battle of the Bard® encourages students to give back to their school and to the larger community. School teams have the option to raise sponsorship dollars through their participation in the program. One-hundred percent of the sponsorship dollars raised by team members goes back to their school to support arts programming and resources. Or, teams may opt to raise funds in support of a school identified by the CPS Department of Arts Education as one currently prepared to expand its arts programming with additional funds.
One of the overarching objectives for BOTB is to create an environment in which students can play with the endless possible interpretations that exist within Shakespeare’s words—while also making sure that all pieces can be performed on a level playing field. To this end, we’ve developed a short list of guidelines that we ask each team to follow as they develop their two performance pieces.
1. All language used must be from the works of William Shakespeare.
2. Each performance piece must stay within the time limit of 5 minutes. (Points will be deducted for pieces exceeding the 5-minute time limit.)
3. All pieces are performed without the use of props, costumes or musical instruments. (Eight chairs will be available for use at each Bout.)
4. Teams may (and are encouraged to!) make cuts to the text as needed.
5. Students may portray any role or roles, regardless of gender, age, race, or any other factors.
6. Ideally, performance pieces are fully memorized.
7. Bilingual students may choose to perform some of Shakespeare’s words in another language.
Slam Round Descriptions
Battle of the Bard’s two different slam rounds encourage ensemble performance and focus on exploring Shakespeare’s characters in dialogue with one another and with the audience. Every team will create two performance pieces, one for each round.
The SCENE ROUND [time limit: 5 minutes | participants: 2 - 8 team members]
Students from each team perform a single scene (or a cut version of a single scene) from any of Shakespeare’s plays.
The ENSEMBLE ROUND [time limit: 5 minutes | participants: all members of the team]
Each team will create and perform a collective ensemble piece using text from any of—and possibly multiple—Shakespeare plays or sonnets. The ensemble piece is NOT meant to be a straightforward performance of a single scene from Shakespeare. The Ensemble Round is a devised theater piece that explores Shakespeare’s words and themes in an original and creative way. The goals of the Ensemble Round are to provide students with opportunities to:
-think outside the box
-explore creative ways to communicate the meaning of Shakespeare’s language as a collective ensemble.
Team Coach Responsibilities
As a teacher/team coach, you are committing to:
- Register your school to participate
- Recruit students to participate on your school team. (Teams are required to have 2 minimum / 8 maximum team members. We recommend teams of 4-8 students.)
- Collect and submit release forms for your student team members
- Collect medical and emergency information for all team members
- Secure School Registration Fee
- Organize and supervise regular meetings to rehearse at school
- Advise students on text selection
- Attend the Teacher Coach "Lakeside Summer Summit" in early August at Chicago Shakespeare Theater (exact date TBA)
- Organize and/or provide transportation to three fall events: one Saturday Team Workshop, plus two Slams—one Regional Bout and the Finals at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier