Skip to School of Humanities and Global Studies (HGS) site navigationSkip to main content

Shakespeare At Ramapo

William ShakespeareShakespeare at Ramapo was begun in 2013 to celebrate the work of William Shakespeare and enrich the intellectual life of students and the college community. Various events are held on a date close to his April 23 birth/death date. Shakespeare Day is a collaboration between faculty from the School of Humanities and Global Studies (Patricia Ard, Todd Barnes, Yvette Kisor) and the School of Contemporary Arts (Terra Vandergaw). Please contact any of these faculty with questions or ideas concerning this day of celebration of Shakespeare and his many works.

William Shakespeare was an English playwright, poet and actor who was born in Stratford-on-Avon on April 23, 1564; he died on his birthdate in 1616. Between those years he wrote the most astounding plays and sonnets of the English language. His plays, continually produced all over the world for over 400 years, include comedies, tragedies and histories. Some of his most famous tragedies are Hamlet, King Lear, and Macbeth, while his better known comedies are A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Love’s Labour’s Lost, and As You Like It. Shakespeare lived in London for periods of his life, and was partners in both The King’s Men, an acting company, and the Globe Theater, built on the south banks of the Thames. While the original Globe burned down, a recreation of it was completed in 1997 and regularly presents his works today.

Archived Events

Events of 2019

Shakespeare at Ramapo 2019Shakespeare At Ramapo 2019

The 2019 Shakespeare at Ramapo was held on April 25. Students had two events to choose from; both involved Professor Terra Vandergaw’s Acting students. First, her  “Voice and Movement” class was opened up to all. After many warming up exercises, Shakespeare sonnets were performed in front of an encouraging audience.

Following up the open classroom, about 40 students joined Professor Vandergaw’s “Introductory Acting” students in the York Room to perform any Shakespearean soliloquies, scenes or sonnets that they wished. First, the Acting students performed the Prologue from Henry V. Then a few scenes from A Midsummer Night’s Dream were performed by students who had recently had roles in the college production of same.Soon student spectators turned into actors, as they read from their phone Shakespearean scenes that were particularly meaningful to them. Pizza and chocolate contributed to a relaxed, celebratory Shakespeare at Ramapo for 2019.

Events of 2018

Shakespeare At Ramapo 2018Shakespeare At Ramapo 2018

The 2018 Shakespeare at Ramapo events were held on April 23, the author’s birth and death date. The day’s festivities began with a “Performing Shakespeare” workshop led by Professor Terra Vandergaw. The workshop was followed by an open “Voices and Movement” class where Professor Vandergaw’s students shared their Shakespearean performance projects with the audience.

The subject switched to Shakespearean gardens when English professor Todd Barnes gave a lecture titled “Cultivating Shakespeare’s Gardens.” Barnes principally focused on how in the late nineteenth-century a craze arose for books with illustrations of the flowers referenced in Shakespeare’s plays. Those paper gardens became actual gardens in the early twentieth century, particularly in America.

At night, students joined with the Rockland Shakespeare Company to read or perform various texts of Shakespeare, again under Professor Vandergaw’s direction.

Events of 2017

Shakespeare At Ramapo 2017Shakespeare At Ramapo 2017

Visual and performing artist Melissa Bartley Chernowetz, Ramapo Alumna ’02, gave an artist’s talk on Friday, April 21st. This talk was followed by three, free puppetry workshops, which were offered twice per day on the 22nd and 23rd. Then, on Tuesday, April 25th, from 7-7:30pm in the Grove, students presented their puppets in a pageant. The pageant was followed by “Shakespeare Live,” from 7:30-10:30, an open mic/performance party in BC 216. Students presented scenes, sonnets, soliloquies, music, and dancing. On Thursday, April 27th, Professor Todd Barnes opened up his “Shakespeare’s Plays” course to the public. Held in the Laurel Hall Screening Room, his lecture, “Richard II: Staging History, Staging Power,” focused on the controversial turning point in that play, Act 4, Scene 1, wherein Richard abdicates his throne to Henry Bolingbroke, who then becomes Henry IV. Throughout the lecture, Prof. Barnes also shared clips from the BBC’s recent series, The Hollow Crown.

Events of 2016

Shakespeare At Ramapo 2016

Shakespeare At Ramapo 2016 – 400th Anniversary

2016 was the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Thus, the British Studies Center sponsored numerous events relating to this important anniversary.

  1. Macbeth – Performance ran through the weekend of April 8th and 14th and was directed by Mary Ellen Allison with Music by Gilad Cohen.
  2. Acting in Shakespeare – This workshop was with actor and veteran Stephan Wolfert and took place on April 11th.
  3. Cry Havoc! –  Stephan Wolfert’s acclaimed one-man show was followed by a Q & A on the night of April 11th.
  4. Advanced Directing: Scenes from Shakespeare Scenes – Directed my Mary Ellen Allison and performed on April 20th, 21st, and 22nd.
  5. Scenes, Sonnets, Soliloquies – Performed on the 21st of April with students from Todd Barnes’ Shakespeare Plays class and Terra Vandergaw’s Voice and Movement and Advanced Acting Classes.
Events of 2015

Shakespeare At Ramapo 2015Shakespeare Day 2015

This event, sponsored by the Salameno Center for British Studies featured performances of various scenes, sonnets, and soliloquies by students.  Additionally Montclair University Shakespeare scholar Adam Rzepka joined professors Todd Barnes, Terra Vandergaw, Yvette Kisor, and Fulbright scholar-in-residence and director, Rafael Bianciotto, for a freewheeling discussion of how Shakespeare’s plays are performed today, taught, and incorporated into everyday life.

Events of 2014

Shakespeare at Ramapo 2014Shakespeare at Ramapo 2014

On April 23, on the occasion of Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, the Center once again sponsored a series of events to celebrate “Shakespeare at Ramapo.” The daylong celebration included performances by students in Professor Todd Barnes’ “Shakespeare’s Plays” course; scenes, sonnets, and soliloquies performed by students in Professors Vandergaw’s and Vail’s acting classes; a screening and discussion of the new film Caesar Must Die; and a stage combat workshop hosted by alumna Lize Meisenzahl.

Events of 2013

Shakespeare Day 2013

Shakespeare Day 2013

On April 23, the birthdate of William Shakespeare, the BSC sponsored several relevant events for the college community. Professors Roark Atkinson and Todd Barnes each gave a talk related to the poet’s life and work. Professor Yvette Kisor led students in a lively Shakespeare centered game.

The Center hopes to make this an annual event.