In the spring of 2002, Columbia High School Department Chair Dr. Robert Young invited a group of educators from The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C. to run a workshop for the English Department of CHS. Teachers spent the day in the auditorium learning how to teach Shakespeare through performance. The staff was so excited that we decided to host our own Shakespeare Festival the following spring.
The 2002-03 school year was filled with excitement as the English Department planned for its first annual Shakespeare Festival. Led by the strength of the CHS drama program, the festival was an instant hit.
The festival continues to grow. In the fall of 2007, the CHS Shakespeare Festival Club was founded. Students meet once a week to discuss Shakespeare, read his plays, see his performances in both local and NYC theaters, screen film adaptations and the list continues to grow as students and teachers discover more and more ways to find the relevance of the Bard in their everyday lives.
The Shakespeare Festival is not officially funded by the school district and has continued by student fundraising along with teachers’ contributions and perseverance in searching for funds from various budgets and grants. We receive funds almost every year from the Achieve Foundation, SOMEA (the South Orange-Maplewood Education Assocation) and private donations.
The Thirteenth Annual CHS Shakespeare Festival will take place on Friday, April, 10, 2015. This event is open to the public.