November 21, 2019

Samantha Godard, English Literature Honours and Creative Writing and Journalims minor at Bishop's University.

Shakesperience is a one-of-a-kind experience. It’s like no other class in the world. ... You get to experience it with the most amazing people! People who are interesting in the same things as you or who are hungry to learn as much as the can about the world of Shakespeare and of theatre. Moreover, this course is taught in one of the best classrooms you could sit in: the Stratford Festival Theatre. It is an amazing and historic building that will blow you away! This class is the greatest learning experience you will ever have.

They say a good book will pull you into its story but at Stratford, you are a part of the story. You are present in the moment as the tale is unfolding. Every movement, breath and sound you make is a part of the play. There’s no way you could ever have that experience reading the play in a traditional classroom. These plays were meant to be watched, no...

November 21, 2019

Katarina Margaret Baasner, double major in English and History and minor in Drama at Mount Allison University.

I loved being able to meet new people and develop friendships and connections and be able to be around others who have a similar passion for Shakespeare, theatre and literature. I also loved being able to learn from three amazing professors who definitely inspire me with their love of Shakespeare and learning. I love seeing all of the different shows, as attending theatre productions is one of my favourite things to do. I felt like I was right in my element during that week and that this is something that I was meant to do.

Yes, it did (change my views about Shakespeare). I realized even more that this really is something that I love and I feel like that I am meant to teach Shakespeare to my future students someday. This experience really just further reinforced my passion for Shakespeare and made me realize how important it is to educate others about Shakespeare and t...

November 21, 2019

Katarina Margaret Baasner a English Major, minors in Drama, History and Women's and Gender Studies student at Mount Allison University.

What a week this has been. This trip has been such an incredible experience. I have absolutely loved this experience.  I was so excited to have had this opportunity to take part in this trip. When the Mount Allison Dean of Arts sent out the information about this course I was really excited. I immediately Face Timed my mom and dad and I said to them there is this really interesting course that Bishop’s University is offering called the Stratford Shakespearience. I said that I was an English major who loves theatre and it is one of my passions. I asked them if they would please consider signing me up because I feel it is something that would benefit me and expand my learning experience. I kept on working hard to convince them because this is something that I really wanted to do. I went on Jessica’s website because I wanted to learn more about her an...

November 21, 2019

Aunika Braun, double major in English Literature and Political Studies at Bishop's University

The most valuable part for me about Shakespearience was the way it brought our group together and stimulated academic growth and comradery within a diverse and dedicated learning collective. Everyone on the trip had their own goals for learning, and differing ways they wanted to benefit from the experience (and we all reached our goals and more during our week in Stratford!). Throughout the trip, it was amazing to see everyone discover their strengths, learn new skills, and find greater scholastic confidence through the various teaching methods we were exposed to. This trip was not only an amazing academic experience, but truly a life-changing week for everyone involved; whether or not you’re interested in Shakespeare - or have any university English experience - you will undoubtedly gain something of value from this course.

This course absolutely changed the way I view many of Shakespeare’s pla...

November 21, 2019

Darcie Talbott, English Student, Bishop’s University

This class, ENG225, left a mark both on my educational life as well as my personal life.  I developed a deeper respect for those who make their living in the arts, not just on stage but behind the scenes. I learned to expect the unexpected in life and the immense importance of respecting other opinions, especially those that don’t line up with my own. I have learned more here than in any other classroom in my entire life, because it combines the voices and experiences of so many professionals with the spoken words of Shakespeare, Middleton and other marvelous playwrights that we lived and breathed religiously for one week. I have learned more about myself, about the world, about Shakespeare and humankind. The journal we were encouraged to keep helped me develop introspective thoughts to develop a greater understanding of myself and how my experiences in life have shaped my views. Talking to my peers helped me to understand the importa...

November 21, 2019

Brianna Henshaw, English Literature student, Bishop's University

Four days, six plays, four post-show chats, three workshops, and three behind the scenes tours. That's a lot to do with little time for classroom talks. But that's exactly the point: this wasn't a regular classroom experience, and it wasn't trying to be. Though we had little time for normal classroom learning (and when it did happen it was over dinner, before shows, sitting at benches in a park) we had more than enough time for learning. That's what this whole week was about. When we weren't leaning from the plays we watched or the workshops we attended we learned from each other; heated debates pre- and post-performances, and long discussions over meals about what we did and did not like, what was true to the text and what interpretive leaps did or did not work. Collaborative learning. The nature of this course meant that I was able to learn more hearing my classmates' perspectives than I would ever have done in a classro...

November 21, 2019

Mary-Francis Kobelt, Drama Student, Bishop’s University

I think back on this course and I have to say it was wonderful if not life-changing. Every moment of the week was filled with excitement and an opportunity to learn. With an oh-so passionate professor like Jessica, eager and excited students, inspiring and very talented actors willing to share their wisdom and amazing productions to watch, I learnt a colossal amount of things in such a short period of time. I could never have gained all of this experience and knowledge in a regular course; sitting in a class room.  

Jessica prepared an amazing week for us students. She worked tirelessly to make this course happen and man did her hard work pay off. The week was jam packed with activities planned for us. If we were not watching a show; we were at a dance workshop with actors from the Guys and Dolls production, or we were taking a tour of the costume shop or we were at a meet and greet with actors from a show we just watched. If there...

November 21, 2019

T. Rose Seitz-Lavoie, English Major, Sports Studies Minor, Bishop’s University

This course was marketed as an intense course that would cover six plays in a week including a musical, told to be the ‘Shakesperience of a lifetime’. It accomplished exactly that. We started off in a classroom, students from Bishop’s, Acadia, and students at different points in their lives. We spent that day excitedly learning from Dr. Riddell, soaking up as much information as we possibly could. 

During the bus trips, to and from the festival, students spent their time comparing their views on plays and characters. It was an eye-opening experience to think of some of these classic characters in ways that some of us had never thought of.

We were all extremely excited for our one musical, Guys and Dolls. We walked out of the theatre and broke out in dance in the hallway! On the way home and for the rest of the week nobody had anything but praise for this production. 

Having the opportunity to read three of the s...

November 21, 2019

Lauren Boultbee, Business Student, Bishop’s University

Shakespearience – there are no words that can effectively portray how truly incredible this course was. In today’s day and age originality and uniqueness are increasingly hard to come by but Shakespearience had that and more in spades. Shakespearience immersed us in culture, introduced us to different characters and gave us an opportunity to make connections that will last a lifetime. A course such as this will continue to have reach and relevance for years to come and it was an absolute privilege to have been a part of it. 

Throughout the intensive week-long course, we were surrounded by all different aspects of culture. The predominant culture that we were immersed in was of course that of literature and its place in theatre, as that was the outlined focus of the course. It was enlightening to learn about the development and history of theatre. Over the years the culture of theatre itself has changed from being one that was conside...

Attempting to teach theatre in an English Literature course must be a daunting prospect. A far cry from the highly individual experience of reading a novel or poem, theatre is both a visual and communal spectacle; this medium is a challenge to capture in a traditional lecture-based classroom and harder still to convey this three dimensionality to undergraduate students. Putting on a theatrical performance takes an enormous number of people, all with different roles and contributions. A theatrical production requires actors, directors, stage hands, lighting technicians, costume, prop, and set designers, voice coaches, choreographers, stage managers… and the list goes on. Encapsulating an experience of this magnitude through classroom lectures and close reading play texts is nearly impossible.

Theatre is designed to be lived, seen, and experienced. Reading play texts allows for more textual intimacy for the reader, but fully immersing yourself in the experience of theatre provides multipl...

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