The Colorado Shakespeare Festival’s highly praised school anti-violence tour continues in spring 2013 with a new program based on “The Tempest” that focuses on themes of vengeance and forgiveness.

Created in conjunction with the Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence at the University of Colorado Boulder, CSF’s “Twelfth Night” anti-bullying tour has now been seen by more than 22,000 Colorado schoolchildren. That inaugural program examined the problem of bullying through the character Malvolio.

The new program explores the character of Prospero, who conjures a mighty tempest to shipwreck his enemies of old on his remote island domain. But even as he plots his revenge on those who wronged him years before, he ponders his actions and at the last moment turns to forgiveness instead.

“The rarer action is in virtue rather than vengeance,” Prospero says, renouncing all his schemes for payback.

“This is really about how to relate to other people and deal with conflict in your life. This performance and the workshops that follow focus on the importance of reconciliation and forgiveness as a tool for ending the cycle of violence,” says CSF Literary Manager Amanda Giguere, who co-created the program with Timothy Orr, interim producing artistic director.

During the program, four professional actors perform an abbreviated version of the play. The actors then lead the students in small-group exercises exploring alternatives to violence that are based on the latest research from CU-Boulder’s Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence.

The play emphasizes that there is always a choice between continuing the “cycles of revenge” and choosing not to retaliate, says Beverly Kingston, director of the center. She notes that 33 percent of American high school students had been in at least one physical fight in the preceding 12 months, according to the 2011 national youth risk behavior survey.

“You can see that in every one of those fights, someone had to make a decision to retaliate for some reason,” Kingston says. “Violence really begins with a decision and we all have a choice how we respond to difficult circumstances in our lives. That’s the message of this play.”

The new play makes use of Japanese bunraku-style puppets to represent some of the characters, including Prospero and his spirit servant Ariel.

In actor and stage manager Caroline Barry’s hands and animated by her voice, Ariel’s sea-blue face and colorful trailing veils seem almost to swim across the stage. With a few simple gestures — a thoughtful nod and touching foreheads with his spirit companion — the puppet Prospero becomes a fully-fledged character.

“We really want you to start imagining the actors’ expressions on the puppets,” says actor Crystal Eisele.

The new program debuts Feb. 12 at the Cole Arts and Sciences Academy in Denver. There are more than 40 schools on the spring schedule — and for the first time, a senior center — and Giguere expects to add more.

CSF’s innovative anti-violence school programs have received tens of thousands of dollars in grant funding and been featured prominently in print, online and television media across Colorado.

CSF’s anti-violence production of “The Tempest” is available for booking. For more information email, call 303-492-1973 or visit .


CSF in the Schools: “The Tempest,” spring 2013 scheduled performances

February 12 (AM) Cole Arts & Sciences Academy – Denver

February 12 (PM) Denver Montclair International – Denver

February 13 (AM) Whittier Elementary School – Boulder

February 13 (PM) Angevine Middle School – Lafayette

February 14 (AM) Eagle Ridge Academy – Brighton

February 15 (PM) Flagstaff Charter School – Longmont

February 19 (AM) Westminster High School – Westminster

February 20 (AM) High Point Academy – Aurora

February 20 (PM) Clyde Miller P-8 – Aurora

February 21 (AM) Sunset Middle School – Longmont

February 22 (AM) Archuleta Elementary School – Denver

February 22 (PM) McGlone Elementary – Denver

February 26 (PM) Platte River Charter Academy – Highlands Ranch

February 27 (AM) The Academy of Charter Schools – Westminster

February 28 (AM) Douglass Elementary School – Boulder

February 28 (PM) Friends’ School – Boulder

March 1 (PM) Asbury Elementary School – Denver

March 5 (AM) Boulder Explore – Boulder

March 5 (PM) Gold Hill Elementary School – Gold Hill

March 6 (PM) Spangler Elementary – Longmont

March 8 (PM) Sacred Heart of Jesus – Boulder

March 13 (AM/PM) Timberview Middle School – Colorado Springs

March 15 (AM) Coal Ridge Middle School – Firestone

March 20 (AM) Thornton High School – Thornton

March 20 (PM) North High School – Denver

April 2 (AM) Escuela Tlatelolco Charter School – Denver

April 2 (PM) Force Elementary School – Denver

April 3 (AM) SOAR Green Valley Ranch – Denver

April 4 (AM) Woodlin School – Woodrow

April 4 (PM) Arickaree School – Anton

April 5 (AM) Dunstan Middle School – Lakewood

April 5 (PM) Bryant Webster Elementary – Denver

April 9 (AM) Northeast Elementary School – Parker

April 9 (PM) Henry World School – Denver

April 10 (AM) Lafayette Elementary School – Lafayette

April 10 (PM) Longmont Estates Elementary – Longmont

April 11 (AM) Niwot Elementary School – Niwot

April 11 (PM) Eagle Crest Elementary School – Longmont

April 12 (AM) OLLI West (Senior Center) – Denver

April 12 (PM) Horizon Community Middle – Aurora