Over the past few years, Shakespeare Festival St. Louis has partnered with GCAA to bring its touring productions to our students. Our students have benefitted from seeing live Shakespeare, and interacting with their actors in post-show discussions and workshops. Now, GCAA has the opportunity to participate in a very exciting way in the Festival's METROYOUTH SHAKESPEARE program. Beginning January 2013, the Shakespeare Festival will partner with five schools to create a new work based on ROMEO AND JULIET that deals with the challenges kids face today with bullying. The commissioned play, WINNING JULIET, is about the fierce competition for the role of Juliet in a high school production, and will be inspired by the voices of St. Louis teens! The students will rehearse the play and then perform it for 1500 peers AND the audience at SHAKE38, the Shakespeare Festival's April 2013 in-the-streets initiative celebrating all 38 plays in Shakespeare’s canon with community productions and adaptations. A second group of students from seven schools will get a chance to perform a version of SFSTL’s free summer main-stage production, TWELFTH NIGHT, spending a semester exploring the play – and developing several scenes with the Shakepeare Festival's professional Teaching Artists. They will then come together for a weekend of fun, bringing the full production together for SHAKE38. METROYOUTH SHAKESPEARE performances of TWELFTH NIGHT will take place April 20 & 21 and April 27 – May 4. Grand Center Arts Academy is one of the schools involved, and Theatre Instructor Emily Kohring is slated to direct WINNING JULIET. GCAA students will be cast in the production. This past spring, a group of twelve 7th and 8th grade female students from GCAA were involved in a series of workshops to help develop the play with Mrs. Kohring and SFSTL Education Director Chris Limber. The stories and ideas of our GCAA students are inspiring the artistic team that is creating this important new play! METROYOUTH SHAKESPEARE currently has a Kickstarter campaign to help make this exciting project a reality. Click here to find out more about METROYOUTH SHAKESPEARE, and support their campaign through a small donation or by spreading the word through social media.