Shakespeare's Heartbeat

Engaging students on the autism spectrum.

Shakes heart beat

The Education Department of San Francisco Shakespeare Festival is pleased to announce a collaboration with Francisco Middle School and autism specialist Joseph Schmitz to present Shakespeare's Heartbeat. The program meets once per week at Francisco Middle School (in San Francisco) until the end of the school year. Shakespeare’s Heartbeat, developed by Kelly Hunter of the Royal Shakespeare Company, uses the iambic pentameter (heartbeat rhythm) of Shakespeare's words and the physicality of his characters to engage with students on the autism spectrum. Interactive games and gestures are paired with short phrases from Shakespeare's works to improve social skills and help with identifying and expressing emotions.

Joseph Schmitz headshotSF Shakes teaching artist and autism specialist Joseph Schmitz leads the program at Francisco Middle. In addition to being the founder of Eureka Street Learning, he works in technology, education, and theater. When not making video, writing, or acting, he has the pleasure of teaching improv and videomaking. He is a co-founder of Special Focus, a performing arts program for special education students in Northern California.