Thomas Jefferson High School students prepare to perform at the Shakespeare Festival.
The 34th annual Shakespeare Festival is almost upon us, and some of Thomas Jefferson’s very own Spartans will be taking the stage. Every year in April, this day-long festival is held downtown, and allows for students to perform different scenes and sonnets from the works of William Shakespeare. The festival opens with ceremonies at the Daniels and Fisher Tower, and shortly afterwards there is a small parade. At 10 a.m on April 27, the opening ceremonies will kick off the festival. This will be followed by the 34th annual Elizabeth Route Parade, which will begin at Skyline Park, proceed down the 16th St. Mall, pass through Curtis St, and come to a conclusion at the Denver Performing Arts Complex. Students will then perform on numerous stages throughout the complex. Each school is assigned a stage where the actors can express themselves through theater.
Jennifer Sonheim, who has been an English teacher at Thomas Jefferson High School for eight years, is the woman in charge when it comes to the festival. She takes a group of students with her every year, holding auditions in her classroom. Sonheim also helps these students prepare for the festival, and provides them with support during their performances. “I’m right behind them, and I’m always right there if they need anything during the performance, If someone needs a line fed to them, I’m right there,” mentioned Sonheim. The festival also teaches the students about confidence, and they get to practice that by performing on stage. The mission of the DPS Shakespeare Festival is to provide a whole child experience in the arts that is accessible to 100% of DPS students. “This is very exciting for me. It’s going to be my first time being in the Shakespeare festival, [and] I love performing on stage,” explained sophomore Darby Bell.
As the events come to an end, the students congregate at the main performing complex for an award ceremony. The Shakespeare Festival is an interesting and fun way to engage students in the world of theater through personal expression and creativity. In the words of Shakespeare himself, “ All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.”