We're Fools and Madmen, and we're bringing Hip Hop adaptations of Shakespeare's plays to Baltimore City schools for free.
A year ago, we received a grant from Baltimore City to write and produce a hip hop adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear.
Here are some things we hoped to accomplish with our show:
1. Dispel the myth that Shakespeare is for pretentious people. Shakespeare is often perceived as an elite artform for an elite group of people. We want to show that it doesn’t belong to any one group of people.
2. Combat racial disparity in classical theatre. Everyone should have the opportunity to access Shakespeare's characters and stories; we believe that the best way to achieve this is through not only representation on stage, but also through representation in the voices telling the stories.
3. Close the cultural gap between Hip Hop and Shakespeare as artforms. We believe that Shakespeare and Hip Hop are similar in poetry, rhythm, rhetoric, and performance, and are separated only by a gap in cultures. We put both art forms right next to each other on stage - Shakespeare's classical text and originally written hip hop music and lyrics - to bridge the gap between the cultures. Our hope was to turn Hip Hop fans into Shakespeare fans, and Shakespeare fans into Hip Hop fans.
Here's how it went:
School Tour - We toured our show to Baltimore City Public Schools, completely free for the schools, in May 2018. We visited 6 schools and performed for over 250 students.
Neighborhood Tour - We responded to requests from members of the Baltimore community, and scheduled 3 evening performances for the general public to attend. We performed at 3 different venues in 3 different Baltimore neighborhoods, serving over 150 community members.
We've received such positive feedback from students, teachers, and community members, that we're doing it again!
We are writing a hip hop adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, one of Shakespeare's most popular romantic comedies. This time, we're bringing it to more schools and more community members: 10 student matinees and 10 general public evening shows.
We hope to continue this project each year with a different Shakespeare play. As our little organization grows, so will the things we offer. Long term plans include multiple shows touring per year (allowing for re-mounts), educational components like workshops and residencies, and forming partnerships/collaborations with other arts organizations in the City.
We need to raise $5,000 by Friday, October 19th to make this project happen, and we're asking for your help!
The funds we raise on this campaign will go directly towards the cost of the production. Here are the places your contributions will go:
1. Artist Payments. The bulk of our budget goes to the people who make this happen. We pay all of our artists and administrators. This includes actors, musicians, writers, directors, designers, outreach coordinators, and stage managers.
2. Rehearsal and Performance Space Rental. This year, we are planning more evening shows for the general public than last, so that more students and adults can see it.
3. Costumes, Props, and Set. By nature, our shows are minimalist because we tour them to a different school for each performance. Last year, we traveled with just 6 painted Ikea chairs as set pieces, costumed ourselves from our own closets, and found props from our own homes. The same simplicity and resourcefulness will be applied to this year; however, we hope to afford the ability to design and purchase some costume and set pieces that will serve and elevate our show.
Every donation - no matter how small - helps make this possible. We can't thank you enough for your support!
- Josh Thomas and Caitlin Carbone, Co-Creators of Fools and Madmen
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Madman Raps - Josh's Weekly Video Posts
Tune in each week of this campaign to catch a posted video of Josh, our co-creator/music writer, performing an original rap about us, our shows, Shakespeare, this campaign, and anything else that makes its way from his madman brain into the world. And here's the best part: Donate $50, and Josh will work your name into a rap.
Read about us in the Sun!
The Baltimore Sun ran a story about Fools and Madmen on the front page of their Arts & Entertainment section. Click here to check out the online version of the article along with a video interview with Josh and Caitlin.
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Fundraising team: Fools and Madmen (2)
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