The Freshmen Shakespeare Festival Returns


Justin Zhang

The Freshmen Shakespeare Festival returned after hiatus during the pandemic.

Justin Zhang

On May 24th, Scarsdale High School held its Shakespeare Festival in the auditorium, where the Freshmen performed different scenes of the Shakespeare play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The festival had not occurred for the past two years due to the pandemic. It was the first time current Scarsdale students experienced this tradition in its original form. 

Before the festival began, students spent much time rehearsing the play. They were required to perform it in a fun and creative way. 

“There were so many rehearsals, in which [students] had to think about so many things: figuring out what they wanted to change from the original play, what the scene would be like, and how to adapt it to the stage,” said SHS English teacher Ethan Paul, who helped plan and organize the whole festival. 

To prepare for the big day, students rehearsed their scenes countless times in the hallways, classrooms, and auditorium, revising each line, gesture, and emotion to perfection.

“It was really something we had to work hard on. We didn’t really come to terms with the fact we would be doing this in front of the school until a week before, and then we stepped into high gear, working to make it as funny and entertaining as possible,” Alex Sharp ’26 said.

Students met in the cafeteria for a grade-wide breakfast on the morning of the Shakespeare Festival. Shortly after, performances commenced. Students, nervous and excited about their performances, watched other people’s scenes and cheered their friends on. 

  “Having all of the planning culminate in such an exciting moment with everybody there was so cool. Last time I did the Shakespeare Festival, I was in it as a student, so seeing it happen again was very exciting,” Paul said. 

As performances went by, more nervous faces flooded the stage. Some handled performing in front of a large audience with ease, while the pressure got to others. 

“On stage it was exciting but also a little stressful. It was exciting since we worked for a couple [of] weeks on perfecting the play, but it was also stressful since it was my first time doing a play in front of everyone,” Noah Ng ’26 said. 

While not all students may have enjoyed this festival, it represents an integral part of the English curriculum and is more than just an opportunity to skip English class. 

“[The Shakespeare Festival] is honoring the spirit of what Shakespeare is, which is a play that is meant to be acted out. While it is still academic and we are learning things, it is slightly different and is something that is not normal school. It serves as a break, or a refresher, and you come out of it having a good time and enjoy reading Shakespeare,” Paul said. 

The return of the Shakespeare Festival at Scarsdale High School was a long-awaited event by faculty and students. After a two-year hiatus due to the challenges posed by the pandemic, this annual tradition brought back the joy and excitement of performing A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It created long-lasting memories and reinforced the bonds that make our school community truly special.