The First Annual Shakespeare Festival Brought the Bard to Life

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William Shakespeare, the playwright originating from Warwickshire, England, is responsible for single-handedly inventing more than 1,700 words employed in modern language.  As a playwright, actor, and poet he made massive contributions to both visual and written art. You may recognize some of his most highly acclaimed works, such as Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, and Hamlet, as they have been adapted into various forms of art, including film. Even in historic times of despair, Shakespeare managed to advance language in ways that had never been seen before.

It is due to Shakespeare’s wonderful contributions to language, that Patchogue-Medford High School introduced its first annual Shakespeare festival.

Combining both fun and knowledge, students were able to participate in an array of Shakespearean games and activities, all inspired by the Bard. The multifaceted celebration commemorated Shakespeare by creating an art gallery, interactive booths based on Elizabethan history and culture, as well as competitions for monologue recitations, artworks, sonnet writing, and more.

One of the main attractions of this year’s Shakespeare festival were 20 Elizabethan-themed booths. In groups, the students enrolled in both AP Language and AP Literature conceptualized, designed, and crafted their activities and stalls. Booths ranged from trivia and scavenger hunts to authentic fortune-telling. Students actually had quite a few tactics for making the festival inclusive and stimulating.

Amber Brewer, of one of the various trivia booths said that her group used, “bright colors and [a] wheel…to make the informative side [of her booth]…interesting” and intriguing for attendants.

Maura Martin and her group constructed a scavenger-hunt booth that created “interaction between the students who are participating in the events and the students… in other English classes.” The scavenger-hunt also went as far as to guide festival-goers to other booths in seek of prizes, creating healthy circulation throughout the event. If you thought the creation of 20 physical booths wasn’t enough, students like Maura were constantly asking themselves, ”what would Shakespeare say?” as they created the text included in their activities.

The festival also included an installation of original artwork created by various students of PMHS. Artworks were created in many different ways, including graphic design, drawing, photography, and painting. There were also a variety of subjects, finding inspiration in Shakespeare’s greatest works.

To commend students on their hard work, certificates and prizes were also awarded to judge’s picks of best booth design, artwork, sonnet writing, as well as recitation.

Overall, the first PMHS Shakespeare Festival was a grand success. Visitors were not only surprised by the turn-out of the event, but wishing for more. After speaking with Jacob Christie, he expressed that his “expectations were exceeded”, and with a such large turn-out, he wishes that “the festival can expand from here.” Let this be the start toward bringing academics and great memories together, with students and teachers alike.

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