Reynoldsburg students are busy with the Bard these days as they rehearse for the third annual Reynoldsburg Shakespeare Festival.
Summit Road Elementary Innovation Station teacher Lorraine Gaughenbaugh said 55 students from her school are rehearsing Shakespeare's The Tempest.
"I have found that my students absolutely love Shakespeare," she said. "They love the words of Shakespeare and, of course, the complex stories.
"They love being able to stand up and perform the lines and really become the characters in the play," she said.
The Shakespeare Festival will begin at 3:30 p.m. Saturday, March 1, at the Performing Arts Center at Reynoldsburg High School's Summit Road campus, 8579 Summit Road. The event is free and open to the public.
Gaughenbaugh and third-grade teacher Anna Meyer are teaching and coordinating rehearsals for the Summit Road Elementary students.
Other schools participating in the event and teachers involved include Janet Benedict, music teacher at Slate Ridge and Taylor Road elementary schools; Aubrey Gibson, third-grade teacher at Taylor Road; Amy McKibben and Lindsay Slanec, from Gateway Academy at Waggoner Road Junior High; Sandy Guinto and Tonya Pryor from STEM Middle at Baldwin; and Kathy Hoover from Encore Academy.
"This year, every group is doing a section of The Tempest and the entire story will be shared," Gaughenbaugh said. "We have a total of about 100 students participating in the festival."
She said the teachers involved in the festival have participated in the Ohio State University/ Royal Shakespeare Company's "Stand Up for Shakespeare" program.
Gaughenbaugh said the 55 Summit Road Elementary students are in second, third and fourth grades.
"We have students taking roles as Prospero, Ariel, Stephano, Caliban, Gonzalo, Alonso, Ferdinand, Miranda and others," she said. "Since we have divided the play into different sections, there will be different students taking the roles of all the characters.
"We also have plenty of sprites and phantom dogs," she said. "We try to include as many students as we can."
As students practice their roles, they begin to understand the complex text of the play and get a better understanding of character motivation, Gaughenbaugh said.
"More importantly, being a part of this performance helps students to learn how to create an ensemble -- one where everyone must work together to create something wonderful," she said.