MELVILLE, N.Y. - The Enterprise Managed Services Division at Canon Solutions America, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Canon U.S.A., Inc., continues to bring the "One Canon" vision to the University of Notre Dame. On October 26, 2017 the Robinson Community Learning Center celebrated the journey of the talented 14-member ensemble of the Robinson Shakespeare Company, who traveled to England in the summer of 2017 to perform Cymbeline in the Great Garden of Shakespeare's "New Place". Click here to view a recap video from the ceremony.
The Robinson Community Learning Center (RCLC) is an educational initiative established in 2001 by the University of Notre Dame, in collaboration with the Northeast Neighborhood of South Bend, IN. The Robinson Shakespeare Company (RSC) is a youth program within RCLC for kids in grades 3 – 12.
Initially met with skepticism, the RSC has gone on to win 10 State Monologue Competitions over the past nine years and grown to include an on-site company of 35 members with outreach to over 700 community youth in local schools annually through drama integration instruction and afterschool programs.
"All the things that could divide them disappear when they step on stage," says Shakespeare Outreach Director Christine "Christy" Burgess, in a University of Notre Dame ad entitled Fighting for Shakespeare for All. Speaking of the impact that studying Shakespeare has on the confidence of the children, Christy goes on to say, "For many of these kids, there's not a safe place in their lives for them to step out and take risks and be vulnerable. Through Shakespeare they're able to do just that…"
During their trip to England, the RSC students spent eight days visiting the famous historical sites in Stratford-upon-Avon and London, including Shakespeare's birthplace and gravesite, exploring the International Shakespeare Archives, and watching professional productions of four Shakespeare plays. The RSC students also participated in a performance class on the actual stage of London's reproduction of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre and led a discussion for Globe Theatre administration and staff on engaging diverse youth through Shakespeare.
The entire experience was documented on video and in pictures by Notre Dame Magazine, South Bend photographer Kaity Fuja, as well as the RSC students themselves, using cameras provided by Canon, U.S.A, Inc. To help celebrate the experience, Canon Solutions America assembled a commemorative book of photographs, titled "Trip of a Lifetime", which included pictures taken by the students. The books were printed by a Canon Solutions America customer and donated to the RCLC.
"I like to say, we are changing family trees at the RCLC. Children who may be the first to attend college, grow in confidence that their dreams will come true. Parents who have never seen, heard or read a Shakespeare play feel safe to sign their children up for a year-long Shakespeare program. Our consistent message and programming helps to make the world feel smaller and less scary, which in turn helps families start to see that what they once thought was impossible, can actually be achieved," says Velshonna Luckey, Youth Development Program Director.
"The Robinson Community Learning Center has grown from small beginnings and big dreams to impact the lives of thousands of local youth as a result of the collaborative efforts and support from families, neighbors, community partners, and the University of Notre Dame. The Robinson Shakespeare Company is just one of many of RCLC's educational initiatives that provide youth with opportunities that they would not otherwise experience, along with the tools and mentoring they need to be successful," affirmed Jennifer Knapp Beudert, Manager, Robinson Community Learning Center.
As a strategic partner, the Enterprise Managed Services Division at Canon Solutions America has continually sought to introduce the University of Notre Dame to other Canon entities that are valuable to the school. This latest achievement by the Robinson Shakespeare Company is a prime example of the ongoing effort to deliver sustainable outcomes that are beneficial to students, faculty and staff; strengthening the relationships the University of Notre Dame maintains with the community.
"We are so proud of the partnership that we have with Canon's Enterprise Managed Services Division and their commitment to making a difference in our community," said Kevin Cannon, Assistant Director of Strategic Sourcing at Notre Dame. "Their Higher Education Advisory Team (HEAT) ensures that we can make an impact beyond our business relationship that touches all elements of the University."