29 May 11
The BAFTA Los Angeles Inner City Shakespeare project culminated in two special open-air performances, as local families gathered at Ladera Park to view a traditional presentation of Shakespeare tragedy Romeo and Juliet.
The performance marked the culmination of months of rehearsals and preparations.
For the past few months, the inner-city students of George Washington Preparatory School have been guided through the production and performance process by BAFTA Los Angeles members and special guest mentors. An additional group of students are also contributing to a feature-film documentary that chronicles the entire journey.
The public performances held over Memorial Day Weekend saw hundreds of local families, friends and curious passers-by gather at the park’s outdoor amphitheater.
The parallels between the Bard’s classic tale of inter-gang warfare and sad loss and the troubled areas of inner-city Los Angeles are clear. For the students, this is not only their first introduction to Shakespeare but a unique opportunity to be mentored by industry professionals from BAFTA Los Angeles’ ranks.
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.
"You have brought growth, hope, and passion to our campus and have helped to develop our children into focused learners and serious actors. Our students and have new sense of self-esteem and a sincere desire to succeed.
Thank you so much for enhancing our classroom activities with the BAFTA army of supports because it lets our kids know that it’s a small world and by working together, anything is possible."
Washington Preparatory High School
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).