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Arts & Culture

Fourth Annual San Diego Student Festival Preview

Beth Accomando
Students waiting for last year's parade

This year's festival expands to nearly 400 students

The Fourth Annual San Diego Student Shakespeare Festival is not a film event but it combines two of my passions -- Shakespeare and education -- so I just had to share information about the event. Plus Shakespeare has provided the basis for many a film and this event does have a certain cinematic flair so I won't feel too guilty about including it in a film blog.

This showcase of students performing Shakespeare begins at 12:30 this Saturday April 25 at the Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park. The day begins with opening ceremonies in the Organ Pavilion with the students then forming a parade to take them and the crowd to the multiple stages along the Prado. Performances run from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. I have been helping with this event since its inception because I believe that kids can not only learn from performing Shakespeare they can enjoy it as well. Now in its fourth year, this event is the dream project of the San Diego Shakespeare Society, a group of fabulous volunteers who work long and hard to bring the Bard to schools, young people, and San Diego in general. The Festival brings together kids from kindergarten through high school as well as some home schools to perform Shakespeare in the park. My parents took me to see plays at the Old Globe Theatre from the time I was six and had me playing a Shakespeare board game from about the same time. So I grew up with a love for the Bard's plays. The festival is an absolute delight as kids as young as five and six perform Shakespeare with a fearless passion. Some of the elementary school teachers have told me that when you present Shakespeare to kids this young and you tell them they can do it, they believe you and they are not scared of the text. The confidence with which many of these students perform is impressive and downright inspiring. And if any adults out there think the Bard is stuffy or off-putting ot even a bit scary, this festival may just change your mind. The Shakespeare Society also points out that this event provides a great educational experience for the students involved, and with so many schools reducing their focus on arts and literature, this proves how valuable both can be to a child's education. So come and join the celebration and enjoy some fine performances as well.

Beth Accomando
A student performs a scene from As You Like It at last year's festival.

For more information visit the Festival website to view more images check out my FaceBook Album from last year's festival.