Last week was a big one for our theatre department, and for the school! Not only did theatre students make it to the semifinals at the state drama festival (the first time we’ve ever participated), but we had an amazing collaboration with Actors’ Shakespeare Project (ASP) to produce Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.

The presence of local professional actors, board members and supporters of ASP who came to Thursday’s reception and performance was very powerful. The Boston Foundation was gracious to join forces with BAA and ASP, and Paul Grogan and Elizabeth Pauley both joined us for the Thursday evening performance. An overwhelming number of faculty and staff attended the shows, even on their weekend time- a testament to the hard work of our theatre department!

BAA students playing Sir Toby Belch and Maria

Our amazing student Penelope took on the role of Viola at the last minute, going from understudy to the lead in just one week. One of the most poignant moments I’ve witnessed was renowned actress Paula Plum watching Penelope perform that role, which Paula has undoubtedly played herself, with pride in her eyes. I loved the seriousness of purpose that our students exuded,  and the artistic excellence that resulted!

The joy and pride in this type of authentic learning was heartening in the face of MCAS (more to come on THAT!)… The anxiety and numbing-ness of these tests is so sharply juxtaposed with the gift that was Twelfth Night. It reminds me again that schools done well can be cultural institutions. Last week, we were!

Twelfth Night cast with Actors’ Shakespeare Project co-directors Michael Forden Walker and Jason Bowen