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Inner City Shakespeare Project: Update

22 April 2011
Mentoring with BAFTA Los Angeles

As announced earlier in the year, BAFTA Los Angeles has undertaken an ambitious new inner-city project that is bringing together a group of inner city students together to produce an open-air performance of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and a feature-film documentary that chronicles the entire journey.

The parallels between the Bard’s classic tale of inter-gang warfare and the troubled areas of inner-city Los Angeles are clear. Using the play as a familiar backdrop, BAFTA Los Angeles has been working with students of George Washington Preparatory School who have been recruited as actors, set-designers, stage managers, wardrobe assistants, and hair & make-up artists.

Against a backdrop of a community often rife with disillusionment and apathy, the accompanying documentary film will cover casting, auditions, rehearsals and the play itself with an engaging cast of students, teachers, and parents which is hoped will become an inspiration in itself to other students and schools.

BAFTA Los Angeles Members have been mentoring the students through the play and documentary projects, bringing their own professional skills and artistry to the production.

For the students of George Washington Preparatory School this is not only their first introduction to Shakespeare, but a unique opportunity to be mentored by industry professionals from BAFTA Los Angeles’ ranks.

This endeavor will culminate in two performances at the Ladera Heights Amphitheater on May 28th and 29th. The May 29th performance will be open to the paying public with all proceeds benefiting the Media and Arts Programs at George Washington Preparatory School, particularly in the light of recent Los Angeles Unified School District budget cuts.

Inner City Shakespeare Rehearsal Thumbnail 1Stage Combat Rehearsals Inner City Shakespeare Rehearsal Thumbnail 2Reiko Aylesworth ("24", "Lost") coaches the young actors

BAFTA Los Angeles would like to thank Community Outreach & Education Committee Co-Chairs Katy Haber and Paul Heller, and our BAFTA Los Angeles Volunteers and Mentors for their tireless dedication to the project, including Sherrill Turner, Phillip Rhys, Neil Dickson, Noam Freidlander, Nadia Jordan, Henry Hereford, and Eric Friedl, Angie Bass, David Connolly, Joseph Killoran, Alix Wilton Regan, John Lafferty and Tamara Douglas Morris, and George Washington Preparatory School’s Dr. Melanie Andrews (Drama) and Darryl McCane (Film).

If you would like to find out more about how you can volunteer or participate in this exciting project, please contact BAFTA Los Angeles