Four seniors from the Academy of the Holy Cross in Kensington participated in the fall Folger Fellowship Program at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.
Katherine Axelsson, Madeline Hollingsworth, Catherine Lamoreaux and Madeline Pence were part of a 16-student class that met twice weekly from September to December. Participants explored Shakespeare’s plays and used the library’s resources.
The program investigated a range of approaches and theories to the study of Shakespeare. It included academic seminars, practical theater education, reading and writing assignments, and theater performances. Students had the opportunity to meet scholars, directors, actors, designers and stage combat choreographers.
Participation included reading plays and related material each week, writing a series of papers and a final researched essay, an independent project exploring Shakespeare, and presenting a final acting project at the end of the semester.
“It was a different approach to learning Shakespeare,” Hollingsworth said in a news release. “We examined the works from a variety of perspectives to develop our own conclusions.”
She said she enjoyed the entire experience, but was most pleased to meet Barbara Mowat, director of research at the library and the editor, with Paul Werstine, of the Folger Shakespeare Library editions of Shakespeare’s works. Hollingsworth said she hopes to become a writer and was encouraged by her conversation with Mowat.
The students said they were grateful for their strong writing foundation from their school’s English department. Axelsson said they were able to help other students with their papers during the peer review.
“We were very well prepared because we’re so familiar with the writing process,” Axelsson said in the release.
The students also said the experience helped them manage their time during a busy senior first semester.