For “How to Become a Shakespearean Actor in 90 Minutes” – Rob’s workshop for middle and high school english or theater students):

IMG_4164“I think that the fact that Mr. Crisell is so enthusiastic about Shakespeare’s works of art and putting it in a different way.” – 7th grader

“I found that acting in front of the class was very effective because it helped me get over my stage fright.” – 7th grader

“Mr. Crisell taught an amazing class, because we didn’t just learn, we experienced. His classes were very interactive and I not only learned about Shakespeare, I learned how to perform his works.” – 7th grader

“I like how Mr. Crisell was always so happy fully of energy and always helping us.” – 7th grader

“Thank you for coming to our class. You actually changed my perspective of acting. I am going to take acting in high school.” – 8th grader

“I enjoyed too much of it. It would fill the entire page!” – 7th grader

For the extended (one to three weeks) Shakespeare unit for middle schools or middle school English classes:

“When I first started learning about Shakespeare, I found it very daunting and it looked hard to understand. Mr. Crisell made it seem fun and easy with little IMG_4160rhymes and worksheets with tips and tricks!” – 7th grader

“I thought it was going to be boring but I was surprised that it was fun. I really liked it when people were made to act them out.” – 9th grader

“Thank you so much for helping me learn Shakespeare, and even more, for believing in me. I never thought or wanted to become an actor, but you gave me the strength and courage to stand up on stage, so thank you for that.” – 8th grader

“When Mr. Crisell talked, he always talked with such power and enthusiasm that he made it watchable.” – 11th grader

“It taught me how to embrace yourself and how to be yourself.” – 7th grader

“I found it memorable because he made it fun and exciting rather than a boring lesson.” – 7th grader

“Thank you so much for helping me! You really helped me step out of my comfort zone.” – 8th grader

“Thank you for all your time and teaching me about Shakespeare and changing my life through his works.” – 8th grader

“Thanks for helping me come out of my shell. That is the loudest I’ve ever spoken!” – 7th grader

“Thank you so much for believing in me and teaching me. You made Shakespeare super fun and super creative. I will always remember this.” 10th grader

IMG_4161“I was really nervous, and did not want to perform at all. But you helped me to realize my true capability, and that allowed me to perform my scene to the best of my ability.” –7th grade

“Thank you for helping me with my fear of public speaking.” –8th grader

“You have helped me to at least quadruple my acting skills.” – 7th grader

“I would never have guessed that I had a love for Shakespeare if you didn’t come. I hope I can keep my love for Shakespeare even when a boring high school teacher is teaching it.” – 8th grader

“Thank you for teaching us the best language in the world.” – 7th grader

“I will remember the acting tips you gave us and the funny jokes you made this year as I move onto high school.” – 8th grader

Why learning Shakespeare through acting is important (in kids’ words):

“It expands vocabulary first of all. It also gives another element of character to the person that they can use in the classroom or even on the stage.” – 7th grader

“I think it’s important because it will help you with your acting and reading skills. It’s also a lot of fun.” – 8th grader

“It’s important because not only is it fine literature, it’s also history.” – 7th graderIMG_4156

“I think it’s good to learn about where so many famous words and phrases come from.” – 8th grader

“It really teaches us to love great writing.” – 7th grader

“It’s important because we learn about our past, and we could take that knowledge and help the future.”

“It’s important for teens to learn Shakespeare so they have a way of expressing their emotions.” – 6th grader

“How to speak clearly and loudly for everyone.” – 7th grader

“It truly improves several of your skills, such as language, history, and even public speaking!” – 9th grader

“I believe it is important for students to learn about Shakespeare, because the stories cause one to reflect on their own life, on their own choices, on their own humanity. Learning Shakespeare also instill self-confidence. Understanding something that most people claim to be hard to learn makes the actor feel successful and significant.  – Carol (middle school theater teacher)

From teachers:

“I cannot thank you enough for taking time to teach and mentor the kids as well as myself about Shakespeare. Your sincere love and enthusiasm for acting and Shakespeare inspired my students to appreciate and respect a topic that could have otherwise been lost on them. I know the students created some wonderful memories while learning at the same time and nothing is better than that in a teacher’s world!” – Mandy (Middle School literature teacher)

“Thank you for teaching me a new way to ‘think Shakespeare.’” Mary (Middle School English teacher)

“I can’t adequately express to you my sincere gratitude to you for giving so much of your valuable time, energy, knowledge and talent AND passion to my students and me. Your two-day lesson to all of my classes is the highlight of the year for them and me. Your presentation was the perfect way to introduce my students to our Shakespeare unit. You interested AND engaged them so well that they couldn’t wait to start our unit, and a few asked me if they could read a different Shakespeare play for their outside novel! Most significantly for my students and me was your natural ability to relate to my 10th through 12th graders and to make the entire lesson relevant.” – Connie (high school English teacher)

Thank you letters from students and teachers.

“I have a greater understanding of Shakespeare’s works due to Rob’s creative, engaging style of teaching. I enjoyed watching the students get excited about learning something new and being fearless in their efforts. In Rob’s opening at the school, he recited a monologue from Merchant of Venice. The students, and teachers, were mesmerized! He gained their respect from the get-go. His passion for teaching Shakespeare inspires others to be at their best. My favorite part is watching Rob bring the students’ acting to life. They trained ahead of time to unravel the meaning behind the lines, but it’s in the moment while Rob acts with the students in the scene when you see the light bulbs go off for the kids and Shakespeare’s words come to life.

“Middle school, specifically, is such a crucial time to introduce students to life-changing experiences. The impact is so strong. I see students make connections at this age that directs their paths in the future. Sometimes high school and college may be too late. I mean there are kids that may have stayed in school if they had this experience in middle school. Most of the kids I am referring to are usually gifted and talented. If they don’t find a hook or a passion, they often give up on school or don’t perform to their potentials. Teaching programs like this lights the fire for many kids who may otherwise have no strong connection or find no real interest in school. But it’s so much more meaningful to learn how to act Shakespeare and not just read it. I wish I had this experience in my teens. – Carol (administrator and former middle school theater teacher)