Photo by Alison York '18.

LA Sophomores watch the opening credits of Romeo and Juliet at the Lincoln Theater. Photo by Alison York ’19.

On Thursday, September 15 Lincoln Academy’s entire sophomore class of 133 students had the opportunity to attend a showing of Romeo and Juliet performed by Kenneth Branagh’s Theater Company and screened at the Lincoln Theater. The students walked from Lincoln Academy into town for the broadcast.

Andrew Fenniman, Executive Director of the Lincoln Theater, reached out to LA English Department Chair Bryan Manahan last spring when he found out the broadcast of Romeo and Juliet would be on the theater’s schedule. “Given that [Romeo and Juliet] is one of the last books the students read as freshmen, it was great to be able to arrange an early morning screening to kick off the sophomore year,” said Fenniman. 

He and Manahan both hope to collaborate more in the future. Lincoln Theater regularly screens theater and opera productions from theaters all around the world, including stagings of plays and adaptations of literature that LA students read as part of their course work.

“Almost all of the students who participated read Romeo and Juliet last year in their freshmen English classes,” said Manahan. “They were thrilled and surprised to see a playful and energetic version set in 1950s Italy with Derek Jacobi as Mercutio. Seeing a production is always different than just reading the play, and this version showed them expanded possibilities for interpreting Shakespeare. We are grateful to the Lincoln Theater for making this possible for us.” 

Fenniman is enthusiastic as well. “While we did arrange a special time for the screening, the price is what we always have for students, he said. “For our theater, opera, and ballet screenings, we are the ONLY theater in the state of Maine that has a $5 rate for youth age 18 and under all the time. It is my hope we’ll continue to find opportunities to build the ‘audience of the future’ by engaging the students of Lincoln Academy.” 

“How terrific to walk down the hill into town on a Thursday morning to view first-rate London theater with teenagers,” said Manahan. “We live in a great community.”