Looking Forward to the Interscholastic Colloquium

September 23, 2022

The Interscholastic Colloquium is an annual day-long event with a different theme each year; this year it will celebrate the work of Shakespeare, as it will be the 400-year anniversary of the publication of his First Folio. This Interscholastic Colloquium allows talented students to do research or writing and present it to their peers. After a brief hiatus due to Covid, the Interscholastic Colloquium is back with many schools around the metroplex participating, including Ursuline, Hockaday, and Jesuit among others. This year on February 17, 2023, Cistercian will host this high school conference. The Interscholastic Colloquium was started by Oakridge in 2013. Cistercian has participated since the beginning, and has hosted twice before. These times were with Flannery O’Connor short stories and most recently with the Latin American Boom & Magical Realism.

The focus of the conference will be the public presentation of essays written by students in grades 9-12. Middle schoolers will have a day off on that Friday in the second semester. The prompts for the papers will come out soon, but there will be one on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, one on Hamlet, and one on the content or importance of Shakespeare’s First Folio itself. The conference offers an invaluable opportunity to publicly present papers in a supportive, collegial environment alongside other students. After each of the presentations, there will be a rich discussion of ideas, and students whose papers are not selected for presentation could serve as discussion leaders.

In addition to the essays and discussion, there will be workshops and a keynote speaker. Our keynote speaker will be Shakespeare scholar Dr. Travis Curtright. Dr. Curtwright is the founder of the Shakespeare in Performance program at Ave Maria College and the author of the study Shakespeare’s Dramatic Persons. We are very lucky to have this award-winning director giving us the keynote address. This is the part of the event I am most excited for; if anyone can ignite a passion for Shakespeare, it is him! The workshops will be offered by Mrs. Magill and Dr. Curtright. Mrs. Magill is our theater director and new Art Department Chair, and her workshop will focus on the acting praxis derived from instructions found in the Folio and on interpreting these 400-year-old acting instructions in the modern day.

Our schedule is likely to have two blocks of paper presentations with a break in between the two. The workshops will happen during these two blocks. The Keynote Address will follow the presentations and workshops before lunch provided by Cistercian. The day then ends at 2 o’clock. On an exciting note, Cistercian has obtained an actual original copy of the First Folio to display at Cistercian on the day of the Colloquium, thanks to the Herculean efforts of Father Gregory. There are only four copies in the entire state of Texas, and this one (worth $10,000,000) is held at the Dallas Public Library. The library has security requirements that Cistercian will have to meet to hold the copy on campus, but the First Folio will be showcased and the conference will include an informational presentation on the manuscript. This is obviously very exciting and is the icing on the cake for the Interscholastic Colloquium this year. The Call for Papers will be published soon and the plan is to collect the papers around the end of November. This should give time for students to prepare for the conference through either course curricula or through faculty-guided independent study. The official schedule and Call for Papers will be posted on the Colloquium website.

In conclusion, the Interscholastic Colloquium happening at Cistercian this year will give students an opportunity to write and present papers, participate in workshops, interact with students in twelve different private schools, hear an address from a very esteemed keynote speaker, and hopefully gain a new appreciation for Shakespeare during the 400th anniversary of the publication of his First Folio.

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