As we start off 2021, our theater partners have some great new ways to engage with Shakespeare… along with a few other amazing writers and thinkers. January features new podcasts, fun video series, online events, and more.
Shakespeare Dallas’s brand new podcast, Shakespeare Decoded, launches this month. The series explores social issues of William Shakespeare’s day that remain with us in the 21st-century. Each episode features expert panelists from across the country discussing themes like class, race, gender, and bias. Listen now to the podcast’s first two episodes: “The Badge of All Our Tribe: Religiosity and Identity in the Merchant of Venice” and “Much Ado About the Sexual Distrust of Women.”
The San Francisco Shakespeare Festival has some hot takes for educators this month: “Takes on Shakes,” the festival’s new on-demand video series, explores iconic scenes from Shakespeare plays. Each episode interrogates a different work by offering unique “takes” on classic scenes to demonstrate how different directorial decisions have profound effects on response and interpretation. Episode 1 imagines the balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet played in three different ways with three different sets of lovers representing a variety of casting decisions: “star-crossed,” cross-dressed, and cross-cast. “Takes on Shakes” is ideal for middle and high school learning and works in virtual and in-person classrooms.
Starting this month, Seattle Shakespeare presents the original, limited-time podcast series house of sueños on their Rough Magic podcast. In this multilingual audio drama about family, mental health, and the power of dreams, Spanish and English weave their way through Shakespeare’s Hamlet and playwright Meme García’s imagistic language. The first episode drops January 27; new episodes will be released weekly through February 17. house of sueños will be available through March 17 on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and wherever podcasts are available.
This month, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum presents Theatricum Vignettes, a new video series featuring company members performing scenes from Shakespeare, singing classic Americana tunes, sharing the words of great poets, and transforming into some of history’s most compelling figures. Each month, donors to Theatricum Botanicum receive a new curated collection of Theatricum Vignettes. In January, supporters receive access to company’s first collection, Theatricum Vignettes: Shakespeare’s Comedies. Support the company and get access at www.theatricum.com/donate .
There’s always something to do at The Old Globe. This month, theater-lovers can attend the Powers New Voices Festival online for free, enjoying four evenings of play readings and new works by some of the most exciting voices writing for the American theater.
If you’re looking for a way to support theater artists during the pandemic, check out The Old Globe Marketplace. You’ll find art, crafts, beverages, and more from the San Diego theater’s artisans and staff available for purchase. Some items are only available for delivery in the San Diego area; others ship all over the country.
Finally, Monday is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The Folger’s annual celebration of Dr. King’s legacy, “Not Just Another Day Off,” is moving online this year. Poets Camonghne Felix, Julian Randall, and Joseph Ross and actors Sara Barker, Fatima Quander, and James Johnson will read a mix of contemporary poetry and speeches from Dr. King, Malcolm X, James Baldwin, Frederick Douglass, and others. Register for this free event and you’ll get on-demand access to video of the reading from January 18 – 21. In the meantime, listen to recordings from 2019’s reading on our Soundcloud.
Educators: looking for another way to talk about the words and work of Dr. King with your classes? Join us tomorrow, Saturday, January 16, 11 am ET, for a Juicy Lesson from Folger Education! Together, you’ll work through a lesson plan that helps students discover the power of Dr. King’s groundbreaking 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech. Powerful speeches are meant to be spoken and heard. Muscular language is meant to be flexed.
Shakespeare Dallas, San Francisco Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Shakespeare, Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum, and The Old Globe are members of the Folger’s Shakespeare Theater Partnership Program.