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Loose Canon 


Shakespeare's Loose Canon Project (LCP) is an arts education initiative that celebrates students in the Appalachian region. We bring them the unique opportunity to work with Professional Teaching Artists and Shakespearean actors who will help the students explore Shakespeare’s texts in their own way.  LCP culminates in the Loose Canon Festival held on the campus of Eastern Kentucky University every April. The Festival is a day of workshops and celebration where the students gather and share what they’ve created with each other, their schools, family and friends, and with the community at large. 

A multidisciplinary arts education initiative
for students
in the Appalachian region of Kentucky

Loose Canon Project is a learning initiative to engage learners in the Appalachian region with the works of William Shakespeare and to work collectively to create a project-based presentation. Once signed up, your group will be assigned a Shakespeare play in which to base your project from and a teaching artist from AppShakes. This teaching artist will assist you and your students in creating your desired project and preparing it for presentation. After a few weeks of creating, all groups will travel to Eastern Kentucky University for a Loose Canon Festival in which we will share the projects we've been working on, attend professional work shops, eat on campus, and more! 

Loose Canon Festival 2024

Our mission is to empower agency and citizenship through the works of William Shakespeare. We challenge our community to answer the question: what does Shakespeare say to me, what do I say with him? Our region has a beautifully unique worldview that is not celebrated often enough. Portrayals of our region rarely express a true Appalachian experience and often focus on negative stereotypes. We want to counteract this narrative by confronting high culture with the agency of Appalachian students: we provide a safe place for Appalachian students to realize their story and tell it using Shakespeare’s text as a tool to contextualize their place in the world.

Why do LCP? 

Anything you and your students want it to be! Each school is assigned a different Shakespearean play to draw from. With different schools coming together from the Appalachian region, we want to showcase the unique talents of every group. Every year will be a completely new, unique, and personalized festival. Your project does NOT have to be theatrically based; we want you to use Shakespeare as a jumping off point. Sure, your project can be a piece of theatre, but it can be anything: visual art, singing, film, a board game, a dance, a sword fight…be creative! Do you have a group interested in horticulture? Awesome! Grow the flowers Ophelia mentions in Hamlet. We want to give each school the opportunity to experience and connect with the text in their own unique way.

What will our project be?

Absolutely nothing. This project can be as simple as a monologue from one student on a bare stage, or as complex as a full production; as static as original pieces of art, or as raucous as a fairy flash mob…or anything in between. We are completely grant funded and will not charge you a dime.

How much does it cost?

We will bring our Professional Teaching Artist specialized in Shakespeare to your school anywhere from twice a week to once a semester depending on your needs. We understand that different schools and projects will require different instruction and guidance. We know Shakespeare and will serve as your liaison to open the text to your students, to get it on its feet and help you bring it to life in your project.  We are here for you so let’s brainstorm what your exact needs are.

What do our Teaching Artists do? 

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