From Fast Company's MOST CREATIVE PEOPLE 2015 issue...
FOR INVITING THE BARD INTO THE BARBERSHOP.
One spring afternoon in 2014, former cable TV marketer Mark Williams spent 90 minutes waiting to get a haircut at a local barbershop in Pineville, North Carolina, and noticed that the other patrons—teens and young men—never looked up from their tablets or smartphones. "We literally weren’t communicating," he says.
Williams approached the shop owner about starting a youth literacy program, and after getting the green light, he settled on a curriculum centered on Shakespeare. "He’s been around for 500 years and talks about the human condition—betrayal, love, trust, and more," explains Williams. "These are topics we still talk about today."
After securing a $1,000 grant from the Pollination Project, Williams built a website and worked with a local professor to create an eight-week syllabus that would be taught for free every Monday evening at the barbershop. The first play was Othello, and lessons, which began that summer, included group readings as well as watching film versions on a projector ("Laurence Fishburne and Laurence Olivier," Williams notes).
Twenty 10- to 14-year-old boys and girls took part in the first cycle. Last fall, he expanded the course to a classroom in a Charlotte public school, teaching 21 fifth graders passages and monologues, in addition to his barbershop syllabi. Williams is contacting local theater companies in Charlotte to reach his other goal: "I want the kids to perform, enter oratorical contests—and win. I want them to see all the things they can do now that they’ve learned Shakespeare."
See his site HERE.
I love this idea and how his passion inspired him to reach out to others. If this idea appeals to you, check out another amazing book, Shakespeare Saved My Life, about a woman who brought Shakespeare programs into prisons: http://www.amazon.com/Shakespeare-Saved-My-Life-Solitary/dp/1402273...
Very cool - do you also know about -
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