West Homer Elementary Shakespeare Club goes on tour

Thirteen West Homer Elementary fifth and sixth grade students in the Shakespeare Club went on tour last Wednesday, March 27, with their club director Sarah Brewer to visit and perform for residents of the Homer Senior Center.

This is the second year that Brewer has hosted the club for the students as a representative of Pier One Theatre’s Mud Bay Bards. The Mud Bay Bards is a branch of the theater organization that works specifically with Shakespeare. Brewer is also a substitute teacher at West Homer Elementary.

The performance at the Homer Senior Center is what the club has been prepping for this season. The program included a collection of monologues and scenes from various Shakespeare works. This year they did a scene with the three witches from “MacBeth” and performed the Banquo and St. Crispin’s Day monologues from “Henry V.”

“We always have a compendium of Shakespeare’s insults; they’re popular to perform and they’re a crowd-pleaser,” Brewer said.

They also performed the play within a play from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and performed one of Prospero’s monologues from “The Tempest.”

“The Shakespeare Club and our short performances are a way to expose kids to Shakespeare that’s accessible and not too intimidating and they’re doing fantastically. They’re really running with it and having a lot of fun,” Brewer said.

Club members also got to find costumes for the event, and they enjoyed that, too, Brewer said.

Pier One Theatre offers several opportunities for youth performance camps and productions. The first workshop of the season, a production and theater skills camp, will be working with Shakespeare’s “Hamlet.” The camp starts at the end of May and the lead instructor is Kathleen Gustafson. However, Gustafuson said this particular one is nearly at capacity. More information is available on additional Pier One summer opportunities for youth on the Pier One website www.pieronetheatre.org. Other instructors for the Pier One camps are Liam James, Susan Mumma, Carolyn Norton and Brewer.

“About half of the kids in the club have expressed interest in the summer clubs and last summer involvement really did carry over into the camps wonderfully,” Brewer said.

“The thing with the senior center that I find very lovely is that it brings these two demographics together for outreach and interactions and bridges these two components of the total community. It gives them an opportunity that they might not have otherwise to go in, meet the residents and visit. Afterwards we also hand out Shakespeare cookies and stay for awhile.”

The students also performed in the West Homer Elementary talent show that took place in the school gym last Thursday evening.