The Washington Literary Society is R-MC's oldest student organization.
Washington Literary Society is a joint student-faculty organization that
works to promote the arts, especially literature. Founded in 1833, it is the oldest
student organization at R-MC.
On November 10, 2010, the Society sponsored a trip to the American Shakespeare Center
in Staunton, Virginia. Twenty-six students, along with
English Professors Jen Cadwallader, Maria Scott and Marisa Cull, traveled
to the Center to see a production of The Taming of the Shrew.
The play was performed in the Blackfriars Playhouse, the world’s only re-creation
of Shakespeare’s original indoor theatre.
“It was a true pleasure to plan this event,” says Cull, who teaches Shakespeare
and Renaissance Literature courses at the college. “It’s a perk of my job to have
opportunities like this – to get students out of the classroom and into a space
where they can see how these old texts are still vibrant and fun. I hope that events
like this encourage them to support the arts as they go forward in life.”
Diana D’Amato ’12 was thrilled to see Shakespeare’s words come
alive. “The performance was phenomenal,” says D’Amato, an English major. “The theatre
was absolutely beautiful, and before the show started, an actor told the audience
that there were extra seats available on the stage.” D’Amato and several of her
classmates took advantage of the offer and were delighted when the performers interacted
with them during the play.
Cassie Morgan ’12 had never been to the Blackfriars Theatre. “The
play was fantastic,” says Morgan. “The traditional Shakespearian atmosphere—from
the natural lighting, the interaction with the actors, and even the small concession
stand on stage during intermission—was so inviting.” Morgan, an English major, enjoys
being a member of the Washington Literary Society. “It gives students great opportunities
to broaden their literary experiences,” she says. “The variety of activities and
events, and the care with which they are planned, always amazes me. I'm glad to
participate in such a great organization.”
The Washington Literary Society also sponsors the annual Book Bowl, a face-off between
students and faculty that encourages the study and enjoyment of literature. “The
Society also plans trips every year—usually involving a performance of some kind
– and plans events that help promote the arts to the entire campus, such as inviting
renowned speakers to campus,” says Cull. In 2009 the Society sponsored a visit by
author Margaret Atwood.
Cull looks forward to the Society’s upcoming plans. “On December 3, we will hold
an open mic/poetry slam night, where students, staff and faculty are invited to
share original work and read favorite poems of other authors,” she says. “Washington
Literary Society activities are a real treat to be a part of, and I hope our membership
will continue to grow.”