HIGH POINT, N.C., June 29, 2011 – A group of High Point University students explored the home and works of one of the greatest writers in English literature thanks to a recent experience in England as part of a Shakespeare in Performance course, which took place in the spring and in a Maymester course.
The group, which included 12 students along with two faculty members – Jay Putnam, assistant professor of theatre and Dr. Jim Casey, assistant professor of English — traveled to London and Stratford-upon-Avon, England for the course. The unique course included visits to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London and the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford. They also attended a series of productions, including “Hamlet,” “As You Like It” and “The Merchant of Venice.”
Putnam says the purpose of the course has been to expose students to Shakespeare’s work in a variety of ways.
“The students learned how to understand and critique these texts, details of original performance methods, and how to study and interpret Shakespeare’s characters from a performance perspective,” Putnam says. “This work, along with their travel and production experiences, gave them a wealth of perspectives on the man and his work that will prove invaluable in their continuing literary and dramatic studies and experiences at HPU.”
The course focused on Shakespeare in performance, so the experience at the Globe Theatre was linked to an earlier trip the students took to the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia.
“The Globe and the Blackfriars are reconstructions of Shakespeare’s outdoor and indoor theatres,” Casey explains. “These playhouses offer our students an opportunity to experience Shakespeare’s plays in their original spaces and with some of the original stage-practices. There is nothing else like them in the world.”
The group also had the opportunity to visit many Shakespeare sites, including Shakespeare’s birthplace, his grave at Holy Trinity Church, Anne Hathaway’s cottage, the Shakespeare Institute, Warwick and Kenilworth Castles, the Tower of London, and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Putnam says that the course was especially helpful to several students in the class – as many of them will be working on the HPU Theatre Department’s upcoming production of “Twelfth Night” in April 2012.
At High Point University, every student receives an extraordinary education in an inspiring environment with caring people.℠ HPU, located in the Piedmont Triad region of North Carolina, is a liberal arts institution with over 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students from 51 countries and 46 states at campuses in High Point and Winston-Salem. It is ranked by US News and World Report at No. 3 among Regional Colleges in the South. Forbes.com ranks HPU in the top 7 percent among “America’s Best Colleges.” Parade Magazine lists HPU in the top 25 private schools in the nation. The university offers 50 undergraduate majors, 43 undergraduate minors and 14 graduate degree programs. It is accredited by the Commission of Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and is a member of the NCAA, Division I and the Big South Conference. Visit High Point University on the Web at highpoint.edu.
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