“Romeo and Juliet” Spring 2023 Tour: Entry #5

By Jonathan Oldfield

John Carroll University, Cleveland, Ohio

Another week, another state! As our flight touched down in Cleveland, top points must go to Grace Andrews who was the first to successful announce…

“We’re not in Kansas anymore!” 

We were met in the airport by our lovely contact Keith, who would also look after us at the theatre for the week, before travelling all the way across the city west-east to the John Carroll Campus.

A welcome feast awaited our weary, well- travelled souls, heads still sore from the Super Bowl win the night before. The faculty of JCU gave us an incredibly warm welcome and with a full schedule of classes planned for the week, we headed back to the hotel to get some rest, stomachs full.

This seems like a good a time as any to say a few words about our teaching. Alongside the production of Romeo and Juliet, each week we partner up with professors at our host university and lead workshops with their students. These classes can vary greatly, and is one of the great adventures of this tour – sometimes you’re working with 5 English Literature students and then the next day with 80 Psychology majors. Some people have an encyclopaedic knowledge of Shakespeare, and for some they are meeting it for the first time in your class. In each case, our focus is bringing Shakespeare’s words to life from an actor’s perspective. In what ways can looking at a Romeo monologue help Business students with their public speaking? How can The Iliad be staged and performed? What does Shakespeare’a poetry tell us about the history of the theatre? 

In every case, it’s very exciting to meet a new bunch of students and get them up on their feet and learning in a different way. It also helps provide clarity and insight into the Romeo and Juliet text for us as well – affecting and altering performances across the tour as we get to know these characters more and more.

After three performances and 26 classes in Cleveland, we had a well-earned cocktail or two with our hosts, before planning our day off in Ohio.

The group decided to split – Team A (Kaffe and Tom) explored the Art Museum in town before visiting the world famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, whilst Team B (me, Hillary and Grace) took a trip out of town to visit Lake Eerie. 

As I write these words, we’re now flying towards Huntsville Alabama, where our penultimate residency awaits – The University of Northern Alabama!