Teaching Artist, Santiago Sosa, and Audience Development Associate, Carolina Morones bring OSF curriculum to Hispanic families in the Rogue Valley.
OSF’s Education Department and Audience Development are teaming up once again this year with something we call the Cultural Connections Education Experience or CCEE. We are partnering with LISTO, a terrific bilingual literacy program located in the Rogue Valley. LISTO seeks to help Hispanic families learn English by offering literacy classes and activities for the whole family. Over a five week period, Carolina Morones (OSF’s Audience Development Associate) and I will be teaching Hispanic families about Shakespeare’s life and works. The class culminates in a trip to OSF where these families will enjoy our production of The Taming of the Shrew.
This opportunity is extremely exciting because I get to engage in two of my favorite activities; Shakespeare and speaking Spanish. I grew up in Guayaquil, Ecuador, the son of Southern Baptists missionaries, and when I was fourteen years old, I remember a young actor who came to visit my school, to share his knowledge of Shakespeare. We were studying Romeo and Juliet that year and I can still remember how I hung on his every word, so excited to hear what he had to say. I can honestly say that the seed for my love of Shakespeare was planted that day and continued to grow the next year when my class studied Julius Caesar. At the dinner table, I remember asking my father if he knew anything about Shakespeare, and he responded by immediately launching in to Mark Antony’s “Friends, Romans, Countrymen; lend me your ears!” I was so impressed; I had just read these words in my English class, and my father knew them! From that point on the power of Shakespeare’s words infected my imagination and continues to do so even twenty years later.
Now, because of this outreach endeavor, I get to bring my love of Shakespeare into a classroom of kids, just like me. Our classes are taught at Central Medford High School starting now until May 14. On Sunday May 5th we get to take about fifty students from the program on a field trip to OSF for the OSF Open House where they will be able to enjoy company talks, Greenshow performances, and bilingual scene shop and costume shop tours. On May 19th, the LISTO group will be going on a second field trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for a viewing of a matinee performance of The Taming of the Shrew. I feel so honored and privileged to be a part of this unique opportunity that the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has created. In the coming weeks, Carolina and I will be blogging about our experiences in the classroom. So if you’re interested in how our partnership with LISTO grows, keep checking in!