ESOL students travel to DC for performance at Shakespeare Theatre


Chase Deist

Students getting off the bus on the Shakespeare Theatre in Washington DC.

Chase Deist and Sarah Elbeshbishi

Watkins Mill High School’s ESOL program attended a performance of King Charles III at the Shakespeare Sidney Harman Theatre in Washington DC on Wednesday, February 22.

King Charles III is about the aftermath of the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the current reigning monarch of England. On top of Charles III the play includes Prince Harry, William, and Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.

The play is a modern take of Shakespearean Theatre, with the dialogue written in Shakespearean verses. The play also included Spanish subtitles for the students. The Shakespeare’s Sidney Harman Theater in Washington DC provided approximately 160 ESOL students  from Watkins Mill with free tickets to the show.

ESOL teacher Sharon Faber said the field trip was “a wonderful opportunity [from] the Shakespeare Theatre.”

Before heading to the play, students received a lesson on February 14 from the Shakespeare Theatre’s Teaching Artists in the O’Shea Theater. The students received an interactive and visual pre-show workshop to give them background about the play and theater etiquette.

ESOL students gathered in the school cafeteria at 8am before leaving for DC. “I liked [the field trip because] school is sometimes boring.” ESOL student Komi Eka said. “[When we] went there, [I had] some fun [at the show], so it was cool.”

Faber hopes that going to the theater has given the ESOL students “a love of the language and [promoted their] love of learning.” She added that she thought it was important for ESOL students “to see how English is used in other ways and expand their language acquisition and vocabulary.”

The play ran for two hours and 40 minutes, with a 15 minute intermission. Throughout the show students also had the opportunity to write down questions they had for the actors for a question and answer session that was held after the show.  

During the Q&A a couple of Watkins Mill students’ questions were picked and asked to the actors. “I asked [the actors] if… people liked [Queen Elizabeth II]  or… [if they] hated her,” Eka said.

Faber found that the play was also a good way to help de-stress her students regarding the Trump Administration. “It was a needed diversion from the stress they experience on a day-to-day [basis]. Their faces were changed, their consciousness was raised, and they were more open… to learn,” she added.

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