In Winter 2016, the Department of French and Italian sponsored the first French Talent Night at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
The French Talent Night was conceptualized as a way to provide a new cultural event to students of French at UCSB, and to allow them the opportunity to express themselves in a new way. Instructors encouraged students to participate by awarding extra credit to participants or by allowing the performance to replace an in-class presentation built into the course curriculum.
Students at any level of French were invited to participate in this event, choosing a poem, speech, or song to perform. My colleague and I reviewed a small collection of classic and modern theatre as well as various anthologies of poetry to find monologues, scenes, and poems that were reasonably fitted to the levels of French represented by our students. Students were also encouraged to propose selections from pieces of their choosing.
The final event took place on February 10 and was a great success; the final program included 24 students from beginning to advanced French courses and was attended by the students’ classmates and professors.