Elementary students to perform 'The Tempest' on Rippon stage May 12

May 6, 2014

Will Power Festival returns for first time since 2007

BOULDER, Colo. — After a 6-year hiatus, the Colorado Shakespeare Festival is bringing back the popular Will Power Festival, which offers students from five Boulder-area schools the opportunity to collaborate on a production of “The Tempest.”

Students from Community Montessori, Crest View, Douglass and Whittier elementary schools in Boulder, and Lafayette Elementary School will participate in the May 12 event at the Mary Rippon Theater on the University of Colorado Boulder campus. 

Each school has prepared one act from the play, which they will perform on the Rippon stage where CSF’s professional acting company will raise the curtain on the 2014 season on June 7. Teachers worked with Tamara Meneghini, assistant professor of theater at CU-Boulder, to help students on projecting their voices and using their bodies in the huge, 1,000-seat theater. 

“This model encourages collaboration, cooperation and creativity, and that’s what theater is all about,” says Amanda Giguere, director of outreach for CSF. “We’ll see students from across the Boulder Valley School District working together to tell a single story. We’re excited to see their different interpretations of Shakespeare’s magical story.” 

The performance will be at 10:30 a.m. It is free and open to the public 

CSF’s professional company will open with “The Tempest,” directed by Geoffrey Kent, whose 2013 production of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” was named Best Theater Production by Denver’s Westword magazine

CSF’s nationally recognized school anti-violence program production of “The Tempest” was featured on PBS Newshour. The program, co-created with CU-Boulder’s Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence, brings abridged performances and workshops into schools to help students explore challenges in a safe environment.

The Will Power Festival is both fun and educational, Giguere says.

“Introducing children to Shakespeare at a young age is a wonderful way to teach them the power of language, and the thrill of connecting with grand, sweeping stories,” she says. “Performing in a huge theater like the Rippon is an unforgettable experience that teaches children that their voices matter.” 

Photo: Queen Elizabeth, portrayed by Debra Ordway, leads the Will Power Festival Parade across Norlin quad on the CU Boulder campus in 2005.