YPS Week 2010

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Our acting ensemble Stood up for Shakespeare in September for Young People's Shakespeare Week, held in Stratford-upon-Avon from 8-11 September 2010.

The final week of the RSC's 2010 summer season in Stratford-upon-Avon coincided with the week that most young people return to school after their long summer break. To mark this time in their year, and inspired by its Stand up for Shakespeare Campaign, we opened the doors of our Courtyard Theatre for a series of performances and activities specifically for schools, young people and families.

The RSC ensemble presented eight performances of their hugely successful Young People's Shakespeare production of The Comedy of Errors (in association with Told By an Idiot) and Hamlet during the week. In addition to these two productions every actor in the current ensemble contributed to this very special week in a host of different projects for young people.

The projects included:

  • Street Theatre, which took place before and after the Young People's Shakespeare performances, on the walk between the Royal Shakespeare Theatre and the Courtyard Theatre. RSC Assistant Director Michael Fentiman and Justin Audibert directed members of the ensemble alongside Stratford College students.

  • Development of a Young People's production of The Tempest for students with Special Educational Needs in Welcombe Hills School, directed by Kelly Hunter (currently playing Hermione in The Winter's Tale and Goneril in King Lear). Actors involved included Greg Hicks (who plays the title roles in King Lear and Julius Caesar) and Sam Troughton (Romeo in Romeo and Juliet and Brutus in Julius Caesar).

  • Actors Noma Dumezweni and Tunji Kasim hosted a YPS week online project through a series of mini-films about the week, showcasing events, interviewing participants and giving a backstage perspective.

  • Students from Stratford College worked alongside the RSC's Front of House staff to welcome the five thousand young people who travelled to Stratford for YPS Week.

  • Actor Sandy Neilson lead art workshops after performances to encourage school groups to create a visual art response to RSC productions, which were displayed in The Courtyard Theatre.

  • Pre and post-show workshops for schools and family audiences on The Comedy of Errors and Hamlet were held and specific workshops for young people with hearing impairments took place.

  • The RSC worked with Alveston Primary School in Stratford-upon-Avon, to make a film aimed at and made with young people about what the theatre-going experience is like for them and how they think their peers should behave in order to get the most out of seeing Shakespeare live.

  • Pupils from Welcombe Hills School in Stratford-upon-Avon and Withernsea High School in Yorkshire who won competitions to design posters for The Comedy of Errors and Hamlet respectively, had their designs made into front of house posters which were on display all week in the theatre.

'The ensemble actors and assistant directors were integrally involved in developing this very special week. Having such a rich resource of artists devising this young people's programme has been an exciting challenge and a real joy. The week was very much about the artists at the heart of our company exploring Shakespeare alongside our audiences of the future.'
Jamie Luck, RSC Education Creative Associate, who led the week

'During this very special week, children of all ages and abilities were placed at the heart of the RSC's artistic programme. A quarter of our acting company are taking a unique qualification in the teaching of Shakespeare, accredited by University of Warwick, and during YPS week they led the whole ensemble in a riot of workshops, street theatre performances and productions especially created for some of our youngest theatre-goers. The whole initiative brings to life our Stand up for Shakespeare manifesto and demonstrates our commitment to ensuring more young people 'Do Shakespeare on their Feet, See it Live and Start it Earlier.'
Jacqui O'Hanlon, RSC Director of Education


Digital Theatre
Our Young People's Shakespeare production of The Comedy of Errors was recorded by Digital Theatre and is available to download (for a fee) from their website.
Buy the production »
Buy the behind-the-scenes documentary »
Buy both as a bundle »

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