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Centenary Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts Continues to Give Back to the Community through Shakespeare Residences

06/02/2014, 10:31 AM

Hackettstown, N.J. – Professor Stephen Davis, Assistant Professor of Theatre Arts at Centenary College, is spending the early part of his summer break doing what he loves best – teaching.  Instead of teaching college-aged students, however, he is donating his time at Hope Township School, hoping to inspire seventh and eighth-graders to love the famous author that he loves, William Shakespeare.  Their work will culminate with a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for fellow students, friends and family on June 11, 2014 at the school.

“This is my way to give back,” says Davis.  “I started studying Shakespeare in sixth grade and it forever changed my life, so I feel that it is important to share what I have learned with these students.  If even just one student discovers a passion for this work, it will mean that this project has been a great success.” 

This marks the third time he has donated his time to conducting Shakespeare Residencies in the local community. His most recent productions were “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” at Blairstown Elementary School and Shakespeare’s Sonnets at Hackettstown High School during the spring of 2014. The residency at the Hope Township School came as a direct result of a presentation Davis gave at the Centenary College educational department round table with area superintendents.

“I am very excited to have Professor Davis provide his knowledge and enthusiasm about Shakespeare to our students,” says Hope Elementary Language Arts Teacher, Jennifer Encin. “This will be a positive experience for the students, their families, and the Hope Elementary School community.”

As a result of positive residencies at Blairstown Elementary the past two years, and the Centenary Stage Company sponsorship of the first annual Shakesperience NJ on April 29, 2014 with Folger Shakespeare Library Education, the awareness of the programs Davis is providing is growing. The schools involved with Shakesperience at Centenary College were North Warren Regional High School, Warren County Technical School, Hackettstown High School and a homeschool based in New Brunswick. Each school presented a scene or adaptation of a Shakespeare piece that lasted 15 to 25 minutes.

Davis teaches courses in Stage Combat, Theatrical Makeup, Acting, Theatre History, Theatre Appreciation, and Drama as Literature. He has a B.F.A. in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University and an M.F.A. in Directing from University of South Carolina. While at Centenary, Professor Davis was honored with the 2010-2011 United Methodist Exemplary Teaching Award.

Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary College is an independent, coeducational liberal arts and career studies college distinguished by an accomplished faculty, small class size and diverse student body.  Centenary is the only baccalaureate and master’s degree granting institution in northwest New Jersey.

Centenary College’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township (Morris County).  The Centenary College School of Professional Studies offers degree programs online and in two locations: Parsippany and Edison, and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.  The School of International Programs recruits international students for study at Centenary and Centenary students for study abroad.