Shakesperience is a an immersive learning experience that turns the Stratford Festival, in Stratford, Ontario, into our classroom. This is an intensive field study course designed to take students on a deep dive to understand the inner workings of North America's largest repertory theatre. Shakesperience 2023 will take place from June 26th to July 1st (departing Stratford July 1). The first part of the course will be online, with readings and micro-lectures in advance of the in-person experience. Then we will meet in person to study, learn, watch, listen, and engage in the process of making theatre in Stratford, Ontario. We will watch five plays, engage in post-show discussions with actors, meet with directors and education associates, connect with dramaturges and academics. This is — at its heart — a transformative experiential learning course, so we will participate in workshops like learning a song and dance from Rent in the morning and then watching the musical in the afternoon. We will learn a sword-play sequence and then watch it unfold on the stage in King Lear. We have unprecedented back-stage access to the theatres — peeking behind the scenes with close up views of the sets, the “Voms”, and so much more! Enjoy an insider peek into the costume warehouse where we can see first-hand how the magic is created *and dress up in some of the fabulous Stratford costumes! This truly is a once in a lifetime experience.
During our time in Stratford we will watch five plays:
June 27: King Lear with PAUL GROSS (8pm)
June 28: Much Ado (2pm) and Richard II (8pm)
June 29: Rent (2pm)
June 30: Spamalot (2pm) + final banquet dinner at the Queen's Inn
We will participate in specially designed, immersive workshops, such as:
• Learn a song and dance!
• Learn how to stage fight!
• Work with a dramaturge to unpack a scene
We will have full access to the Festival with backstage tours:
• The new Tom Patterson theatre
• The costume warehouses
• Set change and private tour
We will meet with the creative and business teams to understand how the festival operates:
• Meet with directors, actors, costume designers, dramaturges
• Participate in lobby talks, attend the meet the festival events, spend time with special guest speakers
• Participate in a post-show chat for ALL of the Shakespeare plays
PLUS enjoy special luncheons at the Revival House, and a final Banquet with an Alumni Reception
Shakesperience 2019 Impact Report
2022 Shakesperience Professors:
Dr. Jessica Riddell is a Full Professor in the English Department at Bishop's University. She is a 3M National Teaching Fellow (2015) and the inaugural Stephen A. Jarislowsky Chair of Undergraduate Teaching Excellence at Bishop’s University. She specializes in late medieval and early modern literature and is the creator of the Stratford Shakesperience.
Dr. Shannon Murray is a Full Professor at the University of Prince Edward Island Shakespeare, John Bunyan, John Milton; children's literature, especially Early Modern English children's literature; Janosz Korczak, learning communities, active learning, and the senior-year experience. She is a recent of the 3M National Teaching Fellowship.