New play to be streamed into 3,000 UK schools

15 February 2012

World Shakespeare Festival Update

Up to 3000 UK schools to experience World Shakespeare Festival simultaneously on 2 July 2012

Ground-breaking collaboration between Royal Shakespeare Company, CISCO, Ravensbourne and Janet brings theatre online and live straight into the classroom


I, Cinna (the poet)

By Tim Crouch

Commissioned for the World Shakespeare Festival

Interactive and streamed into classrooms on 2 July 2012 at 10am

Jude Owusu to play Cinna


The Royal Shakespeare Company joins forces with project sponsor CISCO, with the support of Ravensbourne and Janet (one of the one of the world's leading research and education networks) to simultaneously bring a specially commissioned World Shakespeare Festival (WSF) production to up to 3,000 schools in the UK .


On Monday 2 July, a filmed version of I, Cinna (the poet), a new play written and directed by Tim Crouch for the WSF, will be streamed exclusively to schools around the UK. The play tells the story of Julius Caesar through the eyes of Cinna the Poet. The film will be followed by a live question and answer session with the actor and writer. This unique online event gives students aged 11 to 16 the chance to participate in a real-time nationwide project in which they can interact with thousands of other young people across the country. The project will showcase how digital and social media can make the arts more engaging and far reaching.


It will be a one click and play live broadcast, which teachers will be able to access on their computer and play through any projection device in the classroom, including a Whiteboard.


Two teams of students from Ravensbourne have been chosen to work on this project. One team will film and edit a performance of I, Cinna (the poet) and the other team will develop an online platform for the project. The challenge for each team is to capture the spirit of the performance, and to present it in an exciting and dynamic way for young audiences. Students will work closely with the RSC and I Cinna director and writer Tim Crouch under the guidance of Ravensbourne tutors. Ravensbourne, based at Greenwich Peninsula, London, is a specialist university sector college innovating in digital media and design.


Jude Owusu, who plays Cinna, plays the same role in the Royal Shakespeare Company's brand new production of Julius Caesar, directed by RSC Chief Associate Director Gregory Doran. Doran's production is set in Africa and staged in Stratford-upon-Avon (May to July), Newcastle (July) and London (July and August) as part of the World Shakespeare Festival. It will also be filmed as part of the BBC Shakespeare Season.


Jude Owusu is currently performing in the National Theatre's production of The Comedy of Errors alongside Lenny Henry. His television and film work includes The Bill and Boogie Down.


I, Cinna (the Poet) will engage a young audience to think and write, considering the relationship between words and actions, art and politics, self and society.


It is the latest in a series of solo shows written by Tim Crouch inspired by Shakespeare's lesser characters, including I, Peaseblossom and I, Malvolio. As well as the filmed version, there will be four performances on the RSC's Swan Theatre stage in Stratford-upon-Avon from 13 June – 6 July 2012.


During the course of the performance, Cinna will invite students to write poems with him: small poems on big themes. These poems can be reworked after the performance and sent to the RSC, where a web archive of responses to the play will be created.


There is an extensive education programme supporting the I Cinna (the poet) webcast which will include detailed online resources for teachers and students. These will explore I,Cinna (the poet) and Julius Caesar, offering students an alternative take on Shakespeare which can be used as a first introduction to his work or as a way of developing a deeper understanding of Julius Caesar.


Teachers who would like their school to be part of this unique event should register their interest on


Tim Crouch said of the project: 'I, Cinna (the poet) gives voice to Shakespeare's unluckiest man. Cinna speaks less than 20 lines in Julius Caesar before being mistaken for the wrong person and torn to pieces by the mob. Now he gets a chance to speak for himself, to speak for his poetry and to a world that shows little interest in the minor characters. The play accompanies the RSC's production of Julius Caesar as part of the World Shakespeare Festival. It opens at the Swan in Stratford-upon-Avon and will tour to schools and theatres. At each performance the audience takes up pen and paper and writes alongside Cinna. What they write becomes a digital record of the life of the show.'


Neil Crockett, MD Cisco London 2012, “With the help of the world class talent at Ravensbourne and the reach of Janet, we want to use the 'I, Cinna' project to inspire all the kids in the UK about the relevance of Shakespeare today but also the amazing possibilities of digital and social media and the excitement of IT as a career choice. That inspiration will help drive the talent that this innovative sector needs to help lead the UK's economic growth and build a brilliant future for Britain."


Professor Robin Baker OBE, Ravensbourne CEO said: 'I, Cinna presents a unique opportunity for our students to work with a world-class organisation such as the RSC. As part of this high profile and dynamic project, students will produce video content and find original solutions to transferring a stage performance to camera. They will develop their creative, technical and project management skills, gain fantastic experience and enhance their portfolios of work. We are delighted to be involved, and to be continuing to embed our important relationships with Cisco and Janet.'


For further information please contact Nada Zakula in the RSC press office on 01789 412622 or


Cisco is the official network infrastructure provider to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. For more information please visit:


Notes to Editors:


· The World Shakespeare Festival (WSF) is a celebration of Shakespeare as the world's playwright, produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company, in an unprecedented collaboration with leading UK and international arts organizations, and with Globe to Globe, a major international programme produced by Shakespeare's Globe. It runs from 12 April to November and forms part of London 2012 Festival which is the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad, bringing leading artists from all over the world together in a UK-wide festival in the summer of 2012.

For further details


The World Shakespeare Festival is supported by BP, as founding Presenting Partner, and by the National Lottery through the Olympic Lottery Distributor and Arts Council England.

Social media links at and


· About Cisco Systems - Cisco (NASDAQ: CSCO) is the worldwide leader in networking that transforms how people connect, communicate and collaborate. Information about Cisco can be found at For ongoing news, please go to Cisco equipment in Europe is provided by Cisco Systems International B.V. and Cisco International Limited, wholly owned subsidiaries of Cisco Systems, Inc.


Cisco and the Cisco logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Cisco and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. A listing of Cisco's trademarks can be found at Third-party trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners. The use of the word partner does not imply a partnership relationship between Cisco and any other company.


· Janet provides a world-class network infrastructure to meet the needs of the UK's research and education community. The Janet backbone consists of over 5,000 km of dedicated optical fibre which can run at 100Gbit/s. With over 25 years of uninterrupted service to date, the Janet network now has a community of 18 million users. Janet additionally provisions services, including videoconferencing, voice and cloud computing.

The concept of a community underpins everything Janet does and the network is based on the need for organisations to communicate, collaborate and co-operate in the shared interests of education and research.

Janet manages the operation and development of the network on behalf of JISC (Joint Information SystemsCommittee) for the UK Further and Higher Education Funding Councils with the primary aim of providing and developing a network infrastructure that meets the needs of the research and education communities. JISC also works in partnership with the Research Councils.

For further information please contact Paul Wakefield at Janet on 01235 822239 or email


· Ravensbourne is a university sector college innovating in digital media and design. It has a community of approximately 1,700 students and offers vocational digital media and design courses from pre-degree, undergraduate and postgraduate to professional short course level. Ravensbourne champions the creative exploitation of digital technology through innovation and collaboration. It is driven by industry standards and supported by the latest high-performance technology, producing highly employable and enterprising graduates. It has a strong track record in graduate employability and business creation. Today Ravensbourne also hosts more than 100 creative technology businesses alongside its student community who utilise its leading edge technologies, media resources and collaborate with its student body and industry partners.


· About RSC Education - Through its education work with over 25,000 students, 1,300 schools and 2,500 teachers each year in the UK and internationally, the RSC aims to make Shakespeare vivid, accessible and enjoyable for students and their teachers. The RSC believes students get the most out of Shakespeare when they do it on their feet, see it live and start it early, as set out in Stand Up for Shakespeare (, its manifesto for the teaching, learning and performance of Shakespeare's plays in schools.


Tim Crouch is directing the RSC's next Young People's Shakespeare production of King Lear in Autumn 2012 which will tour the UK.


Date of issue: 15 February 2012

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