All About “To Be! Shakespeare Here and Now”

“To Be” is self-contained. If a space is particularly large, a microphone may be required. Space to change and to store personal belongings is nice, but not absolutely necessary.

A presentation can take place in a small classroom or the corner of a school library, or in a space as large as an auditorium.

Shakespeare travels with a wooden trunk, a sword, and a cloak. The trunk contains parts of scripts, quills, a horn-book, a writing desk, an eating dagger, and a wooden mug. His costume features a doublet with sleeves, venetian trousers, hose, a purse, gauntlets, a chemise, a cape, and a hat.

Please make your check payable to “Optimist Theatre”.

All workshops are created specifically to meet the needs of the school or organization. There is no extra cost for custom workshops.

The base price for a presentation up to an hour is $350.00, and for a full day is $550.00. There may be additional costs for extensive travel, and there may be discounts for referrals, especially for another school or organization in your area on the same day.

“To Be!” has successfully reached audiences from kindergarten through high school (fortunately not all at the same time) and for libraries and community centers. The program is flexible enough to serve almost any audience.

The time is flexible. Most schools and organizations choose a forty-minute presentation with ten minutes for Q and A. The presentation has been as short as twenty minutes and as long as two hours, and Q and A sessions have gone as long as an hour.

Most presentations feature pieces from Romeo and Juliet, MacBeth, Hamlet, Two Gentlemen from Verona, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Henry V. The program can be tailored to feature any play or plays that suit your needs.

A few other commonly asked questions about “To Be! Shakespeare Here and Now”

Up to four presentations or up to six workshops. The most popular combination is one presentation and up to four workshops. The length of each program can be tailored to your school’s schedule.

Ron can hold workshops for as few as four students. Performances for fewer than twenty students tend to turn into workshops.

The largest school presentation was to over six hundred high-school students in inner-city Washington, D.C.

Over fifty schools have booked more than one hundred presentations and workshops.

A presentation is a performance that is focused on the performer and that features audience participation. A workshop is more like a class being taught by Shakespeare or by Ron.

Workshops featuring Shakespeare happen from his historical perspective, using his language and personality, in full costume. Workshops on a particular play work especially well from this point of view. Workshops with Ron happen in the present day, from his perspective as an actor and artist. Improvisation workshops work well from this point of view. Workshops frequently feature both, beginning with Shakespeare and transitioning to Ron.

Ron and Optimist Theatre are located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Ron has taken Shakespeare as far as Washington, D.C. Distances further than two or three hours from Milwaukee require multiple appearances and travel costs.

If there are no specific play requirements and no other performances scheduled, Shakespeare can be in your school tomorrow. If you need a fully customized program, two to four weeks should be enough time.

Ron likes at least half-an-hour to become Shakespeare. He’s done it in six minutes, but it wasn’t pretty.

Shakespeare may occasionally be accompanied by a photographer, a videographer, or other documentarian. Photos and video are shot only with the permission of the school.

Please do. Shakespeare does an interesting interview, and good press is good for all of us.

Interested in more than a one-day appearance of “To Be! Shakespeare Here and Now”? Here are other things to consider.

Ron teaches workshops in Improvisation, Mask-making and Performance, and Improv for Living, which uses theatre skills to improve confidence, communication skills, and self-esteem.

Workshops in the past have included “Acting Shakespeare”, “Improvisation”, “Working as an Actor”, and “Playing First-Person Historical Characters”.

Workshops featuring Shakespeare happen from his historical perspective, using his language and personality, in full costume. Workshops on a particular play work especially well from this point of view. Workshops with Ron happen in the present day, from his perspective as an actor and artist. Improvisation workshops work well from this point of view. Workshops frequently feature both, beginning with Shakespeare and transitioning to Ron.

Three to five days is typical although they can go up to 2 weeks.

As an Artist in Residence, Ron was able to provide a progressive series of presentations, workshops, and class visits that encompassed the entire student body.

Commonly asked questions about Optimist Theatre, the presenters of “To Be! Shakespeare Here and Now”

Yes. Optimist Theatre is a 501(c)3 non-profit incorporated in the state of Wisconsin since 1993.

We provide a Letter of Agreement for every program, which also serves as an invoice. If an additional invoice is required, we can provide one.

Your Letter of Agreement will also contain our tax-exempt ID number, which can be used as your receipt.

Ron and Optimist Theatre are located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.