Meredith College students had the opportunity to spend a weekend in Staunton, Va., and Washington, D.C., where they saw Shakespeare’s Macbeth and A Winter’s Tale. Garry Walton, professor of English, organized the trip and encouraged his current and previous Shakespeare students to partake in this experience, which took place April 14-15.
Walton explained that he wanted to host this trip to give his students a better understanding of Shakespeare as a playwright. “Students have taught me that nothing brings a text to life like seeing it performed,” he said. “Each semester I try to arrange for the Shakespeare class to experience at least one major professional production of a play we are studying together.”
Instructor of English Christina Romanelli joined the students and Walton on the trip. She said, “Trips like this one are imperative for building a community of future patrons of the arts. In taking this hiatus from our normal lives we are able to live our lives more fully.”
Students spent Saturday afternoon exploring downtown Staunton before attending an evening performance of the American Shakespeare Center’s Macbeth as directed by Benjamin Curns. The students spent Saturday night at Walton’s Staunton property.
“It was a special treat to invite students to see two productions and for my wife and me to host them in our new residence,” he said. “We christened the ‘Bard House’ and it is our hope to welcome Meredith students for years to come to visit us and the American Shakespeare Center.”
On Sunday, the group left Staunton and drove to Washington, D.C., to see a production of The Winter’s Tale at Folger Theatre.
Junior English major Abby Ojeda, ’19, said, “While it’s important to read the plays, watching a performance will always develop a more powerful understanding of Shakespeare’s work. This trip was a wonderful opportunity because we visited two prestigious theatres and experienced such different performances. I would love to be a part of this trip again because it helped my personal understanding of and appreciation for the Bard, which is important for an English major.”