By Sam Bardwell
News and commentary
“What’s in a name?”
As an organization, Shakespeare in St. Anthony Park has found that, especially for our young participants, titles and labels are powerful. They can affirm a person’s potential and power, but they can also feel confining.
Bearing this in mind, and with the goal of sending a clear message of inclusivity, Shakespeare in St. Anthony Park has changed its name to Upstart Crow Youth Shakespeare Troupe.
Why Upstart Crow? Because early in his career Shakespeare experienced the stigma of being publicly “othered,” or being an Upstart Crow. When Shakespeare moved to London to pursue a career in theater he was as an uneducated outsider (born and raised in provincial Stratford-upon-Avon and having no university education).
Robert Greene, an established London playwright, published a tract in which he ridiculed the young Shakespeare as an “Upstart Crowe, beautified with our feathers.”
Fortunately, the fledgling English playwright was able to rise above this marginalizing experience and reach far greater heights of expression than any other dramatist of his day.
We value Shakespeare’s scrappiness and audacity. We believe that no pedigree is required to perform for your community and to make deep and lasting connections with an audience.
More than our actors’ ages, experiences or places of residence (zip code), we believe it is their generosity and fearlessness with which they make connections that defines our organization—and the spirit of Shakespeare’s plays.
In related news, Upstart Crow Youth Shakespeare Troupe also announces its summer 2021 youth workshop—“Lend Me Your Earbuds.” Participants will work together to produce five podcasts using current COVID-19 safety guidelines.
The workshop is scheduled to begin June 14. For further information and registration, go to http://upstartcrow.org.
Sam Bardwell is artistic director of Upstart Crow Youth Shakespeare Troupe.