What do Shakespeare and a barbershop have to do with Charlotte’s future?


One afternoon, sitting at a local barbershop, Mark Williams looked around at the kids hanging out there and thought, “There must be a better way to use this idle time. Something that impacts their lives.”

It was a moment of genius – the moment that his Shakespeare in a Chair initiative was born.

Williams, who first worked as Director of Business Development for Charlotte Center City Partners when he moved here from New York City in 2003, shared his moving story with a packed house at the Aug. 4 CreativeMornings/Charlotte event on the topic of “Genius.”

Throughout the presentation, kids of various ages stepped onto the stage at Warehouse 242 and recited Shakespeare passages they learned in the program. The crowd erupted each and every time.

Shakespeare in a Chair has expanded from the barbershop where it was first conceived. Williams now uses the plays of William Shakespeare to change young minds throughout the Queen City – including communities like Grier Heights – in ways that are entirely relevant to the challenges our city is currently facing.

As Thomas Edison once said, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.” Williams’ timely tale underscores the deep truth of that line.

To learn more about his inspiring program, you can experience Williams’ entire talk and listen to a post-event discussion by:

Watching this video of the morning’s event courtesy of Charlotte Star Room.

Listening to the Charlotte Is Creative podcast, featuring complete audio of a deeper conversation with Williams:

More creativity coming next month! Explore the global theme of “Compassion” with Nelson Morales

Mark your calendar for the next meeting of CreativeMornings/Charlotte, 8:30 a.m. Friday, Sept. 8. Mexican photographer Nelson Morales will kick off his three-month residency at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation by speaking to our city’s celebrated CreativeMornings chapter on “Compassion,” a topic shared with 172 other chapters around the world.

Morales’ photographs focus on sexual diversity in different cultures — mainly the community of muxe, a third gender — on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, part of the state of Oaxaca. Working with the muxes has lead Morales to use his photography to compassionately discover and explore his own emerging identity as muxe, too.

As always, the morning will include free coffee and delicious local breakfast creations, along with live music, giveaways and creative inspiration. More information is available HERE.

Tickets for this event will be free and can be claimed online at 9 a.m. Sept. 4 (Labor Day) at www.CharlotteIsCreative.com. Mark your calendar and set your alarm, as tickets always go quickly!

Photos: Heather Liebler


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