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Empire Oaks Students to Perform the Tempest at Three Stages

"Vicious Dogs in Folsom"
Huge vicious dogs chasing small children and a mysterious shipwreck are just two of the many exciting scenes being created when The Shakespeare Academy at Empire Oaks Elementary School presents William Shakespeare’s The Tempest March 7, 8 and 9, 2013 in the school’s theatre.  This year a special additional performance for 800 children from elementary schools across Folsom Cordova Unified School District will be held in the main theatre of Three Stages on the campus of Folsom Lake College the following week on Tuesday, March 12th underwritten in part by a gift from Bank of America.
Now in its 15th year of bringing the works of William Shakespeare to elementary students, the Shakespeare Academy will involve more than 50 young people in this year’s production.  Program Director Barbara Harris stated, “This is one of Shakespeare’s best known works.  The audience will be treated to a very visual performance with lots of singing, dancing, action, a beautiful story and plenty of opportunity to identify with Shakespeare’s great characters.” 
This year’s production features a great chase scene as well as the beautiful poetry of Shakespeare.  Program Co-Director, Kristin Surritt Rodgers says, “These children are being exposed to great literature while learning organization and developing self-esteem.  It is hard for some people to believe that, with the exception of a little back-stage oversight, everything on stage and behind the scenes is presented by children ages 9 to 11.” 
Empire Oaks Principal, Monika Himmrick, commented, “We are extremely proud of this program and what it has done for our school.  Involving the children in the arts helps teach them skills they need to be successful in their other school work and later in life.”
The Shakespeare Academy has previously presented Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, Macbeth, Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  In existence since 1999 the program has involved more than 1,000 children and performed before nearly 14,000.   Director Harris stated, “This program has been immensely successful in Rancho Cordova and Folsom.  We are so pleased to be able to present the special performance this year at Three Stages for hundreds of children who would otherwise not be able to see the show, and many of whom may never have been in a professional-level theatre.”
The special Three Stages show was conceived after several years of turning away other elementary schools who wanted to see the Shakespeare Academy performances.  Shortly before the first of the year the special matinee was announced to elementary school principals in the district and the nearly 800 seats were filled well before the reservation deadline.  
The Shakespeare Academy also includes tremendous community involvement including alumni of the program who return to support the young students, college students from Folsom Lake, and retired Empire Oaks teachers and administrators. 
All of the evening performances on March 7, 8 and 9 are free and open to the public at Empire Oaks Elementary.  The Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening shows will be held in the school’s theatre located at 1830 Bonhill Drive in Folsom beginning at 7:00 p.m. nightly.
Contact: Barbara Harris- Empire Oaks Elementary