Great World Texts

The Tempest in Wisconsin

In the 2016-2017 Great World Texts in Wisconsin program, over 90 teachers and 1500 students throughout the state will read William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Participants will thus join worldwide celebrations of Shakespeare’s 400-year legacy, which at UW-Madison will include an exhibit of Shakespeare’s original First Folio, arguably the most treasured book to date. The Tempest is the last play and perhaps most enigmatic of Shakespeare's plays. It anticipates contemporary debates around colonialism, imperialism, racism, indigeneity, gender, and disability. First performed in 1611, The Tempest takes place on a remote island where exiled sorcerer Prospero seeks redemption for himself and his daughter Miranda by orchestrating several encounters between human and supernatural, native and foreign, noble and treacherous characters. The play offers a reflection on literary creation itself, with Prospero figured as an “author” within the play. It also features some of Shakespeare’s most unforgettable and complex characters: the spirit Ariel, the Algerian witch Sycorax, and her deformed and enslaved son Caliban—an anagram of “cannibal." As they read the play and explore its hundreds of adaptations (including sci-fi movies, prison dramas, and classic opera, and a novelistic adaptation by Margaret Atwood called Hag-Seed), students and educators will engage with the histories and legacies of transatlantic travel, conquest and slavery in sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

Featuring a keynote address by Booker Prize-winning novelist Margaret Atwood, the Great World Texts in Wisconsin Annual Student Conference will take place on Monday, April 3, 2017. The conference program will be available as the conference nears. In addition to the keynote address, Atwood will give a public lecture at 7:30pm on the same day. Click here for more information.

Teaching Resources: click here for the 2016-2017 "Teaching The Tempest in Wisconsin" guide and supporting materials.

The Tempest in Wisconsin is an initiative of the Center for the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, supported by the A. W. Mellon Foundation; the Evjue Foundation; UW-Madison Libraries; the Department of English; the Anonymous Fund of the College of Letters & Science; the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction; and the Promega Corporation.

2016-2017 Program Participants

This year, over 90 educators at 26 high schools around the state are participating in the Great World Texts in Wisconsin program. 



Lead Teacher

Bay Port HS Green Bay Janelle Bailey
Big Foot HS Walworth Suzanne Floody
Brookfield Central HS Brookfield Patrick Perez
Chippewa Falls Senior HS Chippewa Falls     Molly Barnes
Clark Street Community School Middleton Bryn Orum
Clinton HS Clinton Kim Bindl
Cochrane-Fountain City School  Fountain City Terri Karsten
Community HS Milwaukee Jayme Timmons
EAGLE School of Madison Madison Jenn Sauer
Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah HS Elkhart Lake Lei Lund
Green Bay East HS Green Bay Susan Carlson
Hartford Union HS Hartford Katie Herrmann
IDEAS Academy Sheboygan Addie Degenhardt
James Madison Ac. Campus Milwaukee Kelly Patschull
Laconia HS Rosendale Danielle Olejniczak
Lake Mills HS Lake Mills Brenda Morris
Lodi HS Lodi Carrie Kerska
Madison Country Day School Middleton Evelyn Lasky
Madison East HS Madison Amy Isensee
Milwaukee HS of the Arts Milwaukee Krista Claypool
New Horizons Charter School Milwaukee Renee Glembin
Oshkosh North HS Oshkosh Jason Cummings
Oshkosh West HS Oshkosh Brian Phelps
Osseo-Fairchild HS Osseo Denise Beasley
Rock University HS Janesville Erin Jensen
St. Francis Xavier HS Appleton Lynn Zetzman