What’s Good William


William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is one of the oldest and well-known plays and to a student who is not aware of Shakespeare’s writing style, Romeo and Juliet can be difficult to understand. Amy Lawrence’s 9th grade English class has accepted the challenge to read this Shakespeare classic with the help of Tennessee Shakespeare Company. This theater and education organization travels to schools and other establishments in Memphis to teach and perform Shakespeare’s works. Their vision is “to sustain a classical, professional theatre in Memphis that nurtures artists creatively and financially and encourages audiences to exaltation, curiosity, and wonderment [..] (Tennessee Shakespeare Company)”
Tennessee Shakespeare Company’s representatives have already visited Lawrence’s classes. While in class, the actors dissect parts of the play the students have already read and try to give them a better understanding of the text. As well as talking about scenes with the students, the actors act them out, and call students to the stage to take on roles. This interactive approach gives students a clear interpretation of Shakespeare’s tone and intentions. “They helped me know and understand the characters” says Ellie Diehl (Freshmen). Loraleli Forgette (Freshman) says, “Having TSC helped because they helped me understand the writing and brought it to life.”
The Romeo and Juliet Project has helped over 17,500 students so far and continues to help more every day. Not only the students have seen improvement in understanding amongst themselves, but Mrs. Lawrence has also seen the improvement in her students’ performance. “It’s wonderful to have professional actors in the room with us, taking us through the story and talking to us about the characters motivation […] I really think it helps”, says Lawrence.