Why Viola Project?
The Viola Project is the only organization in the Chicagoland area that empowers girls through the works of William Shakespeare. At our workshops, camps and in school residencies, girls learn to speak up and speak out with the most gorgeous and complicated text in the English language.
We work to cultivate:
Bravery - We teach our girls to meet the challenges of Shakespeare’s text and the demands of performing it. We encourage them to stand up and speak some of the greatest words ever written with loud, proud voices. We’re helping to raise the next generation of confident, poised women. Shakespeare is tough, but Viola Project girls are tougher!
Empathy - Shakespeare’s characters are utterly human. In class, we explore why his characters do what they do, what they do to achieve their ends, and how their relationships to others affect them. When we remember that Hamlet is a boy who misses his dad, or that Imogen is just trying to survive in a difficult world, it’s easier to understand that though every person is different, we’re all very similar - and we’re all in this together.
Curiosity - We ask questions! We look things up! Shakespeare talks about difficult things: family conflict, politics, war, responsibility, love. He uses history to teach us about today. We discuss big ideas and encourage passionate curiosity about our world. We want our girls to know they have the power to find answers and the right to keep asking questions. O this learning, what a thing it is!
Community - Shakespeare is a team sport. Our girls have the opportunity to be actors, dramaturgs, directors, designers and audience members. We foster a community of young women who support each other’s creative endeavors and work together to grow. We also serve as a portal for families to explore the arts in their communities. Our hope is that these experiences will spark important conversations about who we are, where we come from and where we want to go.