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Help Me Fight for Art, Education, & Community
Long before I was a part of New York Shakespeare Exchange, William Shakespeare changed my life. I remember reading Macbeth as an isolated, existential high school student, and falling, like Alice down the hole, into a swift and devastating whorl of language and emotion. As I read the text again and again, I felt every syllable, every image, every pang of Macbeth’s panic: The personal traumas and worries that sit beneath the surface of external appearance and expectation, woven inextricably in every inch of tissue, that surge out, propelled by fear and anxiety, in the darkness; the crushing weight of impossible choices; the dissolution of greatness and love; the insecurities of masculinity. It was all so intense, so profound, so transformative.
However, my experience, much like Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s, was internal. Like many who read or see Shakespeare, I consumed, I contemplated. But what then? What was I supposed to do with that experience? I wondered if others experienced it like I did. I know what it did to my world--but what about the rest of it? It was then that I decided to become an English teacher.
Years later, well into my teaching career, as I continued to think of compelling and constructive ways to engage my students with Shakespeare, I found New York Shakespeare Exchange and The Sonnet Project, NYSX’s one-of-a-kind film exploration of Shakespeare’s sonnets reimagined in a contemporary setting. Immediately I shared this with my students, had them create their own, and watched as they discovered new places, made new friends, learned useful skills, and connected their world to Shakespeare’s. Suddenly they wanted not only more of Shakespeare’s world, but also more of their own--more from their own.
Now, as I have moved on from teaching, I sit on NYSX’s Board of Directors where I do all I can to bring engaging, challenging art to more people--to spark conversations, enrich communities, build bridges, and bring people together. I am so excited for where this company is going: The Sonnet Project continues to bring in films from all over the world, and expand into classrooms; INTERSECTIONS brings our work directly into local communities; the new Diversity Cohort develops and showcases unheard voices from all over. Your tax-deductible contribution, no matter how small or large, makes this happen.
I believe firmly in the power of the arts and education, just as generations of people have, and I will continue to fight for their place in this world. Will you help me fight?