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Upper School Students Perform Gender Fluid Production of Romeo and Juliet

Shipley's Performing Arts Department debuted a modern spin on the Shakespeare classic Romeo and Juliet on November 22-24. The production featured gender-fluid casting, three contemporary dances, on-stage fight scenes, and modern clothing.

In making the casting gender fluid, the theatre students were able to put explore untraditional plotlines during the performance. All of the characters played by female actors were female characters, thus the Montague Gang was portrayed as a skater girl gang. Mercutio was also played by a female student, so it was explored whether Mercutio is in love with Romeo, and Tybalt was cast as female as well, which made the fight scenes entirely female, therefore altering the fight choreography. While the original play features Ladies Montague and Capulet and their spouses, in keeping with the modern theme, Shipley’s performance portrayed Lady Montague as a single mother.

In addition to pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in a classical theatre performance, modernizing Romeo and Julie through dance, music and costume made the performance much easier for an audience to understand, while still honoring the centuries-old play.


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The Shipley School is a private, coeducational day school for pre-kindergarten through 12th grade students, located in Bryn Mawr, PA. Through our commitment to educational excellence, we develop within each student a love of learning and a desire for compassionate participation in the world.