King Lear comes to New York schools


A newly crafted 70-minute production of Shakespeare's King Lear is to be brought to more than one million New York schoolchildren next October.

Developed especially for young audiences aged eight and upwards and directed by Tim Crouch, this specially created production will be an explosive first introduction to Shakespeare for students who are least likely to access this work.

A collaboration between the Royal Shakespeare Company and Park Avenue Armory, the production will play to more than 1,000 New York City public school students. A filmed version will then be distributed to more than 1 million students in New York City Schools.

RSC Artistic Director Michael Boyd said: 'Tim Crouch's approach to Shakespeare is fresh, vivid and speaks directly to young people.

'Our short and punchy YPS shows have brought Shakespeare's work - and the very human dilemmas he tackles - to life for many thousands of UK children. I am looking forward to sharing this with young New Yorkers and exchanging ideas with some of the City's most inspirational teachers and artists.'

The new collaboration is a direct result of the RSC's six week residency last summer at Park Avenue Armory, when the RSC presented five Shakespeare plays in an exact replica of the RSC's Royal Shakespeare Theatre, built in the Armory's vast Wade Thompson Drill Hall (pictured).

The residency included Young People's Shakespeare (YPS) productions of Hamlet and The Comedy of Errors supported by pre- and post-show educational workshops provided by RSC ensemble actors and Park Avenue Armory teaching artists.

For 79 per cent of the children who took part, this was the first time they had seen a Shakespeare play.

The YPS series is a key part of the RSC's education mission, inspired by the Company's Stand up for Shakespeare manifesto, calling for young people to Do Shakespeare on their Feet, See it Live and Start it Early.

Photo by Stephanie Berger

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Teaching Shakespeare