VanTech Students Participate in Bard in the Classroom Program

On April 9, 2013, Grade 10 English students at Vancouver Technical Secondary School were presented with an exciting opportunity to bring their subject matter to life.

With the help of a trained actor, the students were tasked with acting out a monologue from Romeo and Juliet as part of the Bard in the Classroom program.

This program is put on by Bard on the Beach in an attempt to provide students with an opportunity to experience Shakespeare in a more creative and expressive way.

English teacher Kim Beaucock organized the Bard in the Classroom seminars at Van Tech and said that the program gets students more interested in Shakespeare's works.

"So often, people hate Shakespeare because they've had a poor introduction to his material," she said.  "So we make sure that the students have a positive introduction with this program."

Cos Natola's English class was visited by actor Kyle Rideout, and Natola said that his students benefitted a lot from Rideout's seminar.

"It's like a two birds, one stone kind of situation," said Natola.  "They're learning about Shakespeare while having fun at the same time."

For the program, the students started the seminar by participating in a warm up activity that tested their acting skills.  After the students got loosened up, they read a monologue from Romeo and Juliet as a class, and afterwards, split into groups to practice and eventually perform the monologue for each other.

Rideout says that some classes feel a little uncomfortable at first when it comes down to the acting part of the seminar.

"Every class is so different," he said.  "If I'm in an English class, they're usually a little bit more used to sitting down in a classroom and learning the material."

But Natola's class warmed right up to the acting challenge.

Student Nada Kourkmas said that acting out the scene helped her get a better understand of the material.

"We can actually see what they're talking about and what they mean," she said. "It's a lot more fun too."

Jenevie Epple used to be in a Drama class and said she wasn't scared to perform in front of her classmates.

"I like [the program] because I like acting and this is better than just reading the book," she said. "I learn more from this because we get to act out the scenes as we learn it."

William Deng said acting out the scene helped him understand it more.

"I get a better understanding of the play when we act it out than I would just sitting and reading," he said.

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