December 7, 2016

Blairstown ElementaryHackettstown, N.J., December 7, 2016 – Stephen Davis, Associate Professor of Theatre Arts at Centenary University, takes his love of theater and Shakespeare very seriously. In addition to teaching Centenary University students, he will be working with students from Blairstown Elementary School for the fifth year during Centenary’s winter break.

“I am so pleased that Professor Davis has been working with Blairstown Elementary School for five years,” says Bruce P. Leal, Principal of Blairstown Elementary School. “He is the consummate professional who offers our children an opportunity to grow on so many levels. He allows every child to learn so much about Shakespeare, but more importantly, each child grows and learns so much about themselves.”

His time spent at Blairstown Elementary School will be focused on inspiring 90 six-graders to appreciate the famous author that has changed his life, William Shakespeare. His “Shakesperience” residency program will culminate with a student production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, in which the entire sixth grade class will perform an abridged version of the play for fellow students, friends and family on January 13, 2017.

“I have had the privilege to work with Stephen for the past five years,” says Christine Kovacs, 6th grade teacher for Blairstown Elementary School. “The Blairstown Elementary School community is so fortunate. With his positive outlook and passion for performing arts, Stephen presents classic theater to our 6th grade students on a level they can understand and appreciate.  As a teacher it is amazing to see the transformation students make during the week-long intensive “Shakesperience.” It is a highlight of our students’ 6th grade school year. The end result of Professor Davis’ program is very rewarding for our students, their parents and our school.”

In addition to Davis’ work with Blairstown Elementary School, he has partnered with Hackettstown High School to provide insight on acting techniques as part of the Shakesperience NJ program. In addition, he conducted his Shakesperience Residency Program at Hope Township Elementary School.

“I studied Shakespeare in sixth grade and it made a huge impact on my own life,” says Davis. “I found that I had an ability to embrace his literature and was successful at performing on stage. If even just one student discovers a passion for this work, it will mean that this project produced a positive outcome.”

Stephen Davis is a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association. He has a B.F.A. in acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University, as well as an M.F.A. in directing from University of South Carolina, where he received the Two Thumbs Up Teaching Award for making a difference in the lives of students with learning disabilities.

While at Centenary, Professor Davis was honored with both the 2014-2015 Centenary College Distinguished Teaching Award and the 2010-2011 United Methodist Exemplary Teaching Award. He has worked with the Folger Theatre of DC for six years on their Shakespeare in the New Jersey public schools program entitled Shakesperience New Jersey, and is proud to have started the program here at Centenary University.  He teaches classes and in-school residencies to all ages in Shakespeare, stage combat, theatrical makeup, acting, directing, playwriting, video production and movement for the theatre.

“Professor Davis appeals to the heart, as well as the mind and his passion is shared by students and staff alike,” says Principal Leal. “It is truly remarkable how much he and the students accomplish in such a short period of time.”

Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix is designed to provide an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world.

Centenary University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, N.J., with its equestrian facility in Washington Township (Morris County). The Centenary University School of Professional Studies offers degree programs 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.

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