Published: June 28, 2016
 Students at shakespeare camp

Ah, Shakespeare. Whether one loves, despises or fears the work of the immortal bard of Stratford-upon-Avon often depends upon the manner of first exposure.

Does your stomach experience toil and trouble at the memory of a pinched and scolding high-school English teacher peddling Bardic cod-liver oil? Does the idea of seeing a Shakespeare play threaten to put you to sleep, perchance to dream — or rather, to give thee life?

“Shakespeare has so much to offer, and I think so many people find it scary and inaccessible because teachers get caught up in teaching everything it has to offer,” says Hadley Kamminga-Peck, who earned her PhD in theater from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2015.

But for a crash course in just how accessible, appealing and fun Shakespeare can be, there are few better places than the Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s smashingly successful summer programs for children, Camp Shakespeare for 10- to 18-year-olds and Shakespeare’s Sprites, for ages 6-9.

“They love the silly characters. They love Malvolio with his stockings (from ‘Twelfth Night’) and Bottom with his donkey head (‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’),” Kamminga-Peck says of the Sprites she’s worked with since the program for younger children began six years ago. “They love the jokes. They think it’s the funniest thing when characters get themselves into stupid situations. ‘No!’ they say. ‘He’s being dumb!’”

CSF has offered education programs for kids for nearly two decades, but its summer camps have really taken off in the past five years under the tutelage of Director of Outreach Amanda Giguere and Producing Artistic Director Timothy Orr. More than 100 spots — 24 for Sprites and 80 for two sessions of Camp Shakespeare — fill up in early spring each year.

To read the rest of this story, visit the Colorado Arts & Sciences Magazine website.