Following is a letter from Corinne Gaucher, director of the Middle School Fall Festival of Shakespeare:
My name is Corinne Gaucher and I am the director of the Middle School Fall Festival of Shakespeare at Martin Luther King, Jr. School. This is my third year returning to direct, but MLK, Jr. School will be participating for their 5th year this fall. In fact, they were the very first middle school to participate in the Festival before it grew into the lovely beast it is today. Hosted by Portland Playhouse (the theatre right down the block on 6th and Prescott), the Fall Festival of Shakespeare is not a play competition, but rather focuses on bringing together local middle and high schools to celebrate our similarities and differences through theatre. The students act in an abridged work, create costumes for it, design the set, create the publicity materials, until ultimately, it becomes entirely their own. This year MLK Jr, Boise-Elliot, Da Vinci, and Magnet Academy will be participating in the Middle School Festival together. If you are unfamiliar with the profound impact this work has on its students and the communities who participate, you can learn more about it here (http://www.portlandplayhouse.org/fall-festival/).
Also, I know it will likely be the final year being formally involved in the Middle School Festival with the consolidation of PPS schools. As a result, the Festival will be limited to only 6-8th graders this year, rather than extending our group down to the elementary school as we had done in the past. Our production last year included 12 middle school students. This year, I would love nothing more than to get the whole middle school together to create a production they can be proud of and use to celebrate their final year together at MLK. While I am aware getting the whole middle school involved in an after school program is a lofty endeavor, I would love any assistance you might be willing to offer us to get more students participating and/or in the room. We need much more than just actors, in fact regardless of how diverse your student’s interests, I can guarantee there is a place for them in our production. Ultimately, our goal is to get more students involved so MLK School can celebrate what makes them so wonderful and go out of the Fall Festival with the ruckus applause that they so well deserve.
Feel free to email Corinne at email@example.com with any questions.