The ImprovEd Shakespeare Company
The ImprovEd Shakespeare Company seeks to make the works of Shakespeare accessible to children. The company picks works by the Bard which are being performed by companies around town and creates mini-productions, which include both original and modern adaptations of the language, to teach participants the story of the play. The children create their own costumes and props for the shows, which they put on two at a time, and tour around town with their works. Offering free entertainment for kids by kids. Following their performance, the group goes to see the full-length version of the show that the participants can more easily understand.
When we were contacted by ImprovEd because they were interested in shadowing our Merchant of Venice, naturally we could not resist but to create a dynamic collaboration. Troupe members attended each of the performances, usually in costume, and provided an enthusiastic audience that would laugh at the period jokes. We also assisted ImprovEd in their Honk!Tx Parade participation, getting up early to get in costume and stroll about East Austin to the beats of street bands. Finally, we gave the group discounted seats at the show, and gave a talk back just for ImprovEd participants so that they could see how we prepared for the full roles. As you can see in the picture, our Shylocks got along quite well.
We have also discussed with their company assisting them in costuming workshops to help the participants learn about period fabrics and techniques as well as collaboration on a summer camp. Because our goals are so similar, we see this relationship as a lasting one which will only grow.