"The Sidney E. Frank Foundation believes in the power of Shakespeare to inspire a love of literature and theater in students, and we are delighted to support the Royal Shakespeare Company's excellent educational programs."
Amy Holmes, Sidney E. Frank Foundation
As part of the Stand Up for Shakespeare aim to get young people to “See it Live”, the RSC has designed a series of work called First Encounters with Shakespeare.
First Encounter productions are distilled versions of Shakespeare plays which have been specially created for young audiences aged 8 years old and upwards. They tour schools and theatres in the UK and US.
In February 2014 a newly-crafted 75-minute production of Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew was developed and directed by Michael Fentiman. It played to nearly 20,000 people in the UK and US, including a special two week residency at The Ohio State University which was seen by over 1,500 students from local elementary, middle and high schools.
Including an introduction to the performance and a chance to hear from the actors afterwards, First Encounter: The Taming of the Shrew used a distilled version of the original text to create the perfect first experience of Shakespeare for 8-13 year olds.
Previous productions for young audiences include Hamlet and King Lear. A filmed version of King Lear was distributed to more than 1 million students in New York City Schools in Spring 2013 thanks for a grant from the Sidney E.Frank Foundation and The Thompson Family Foundation.
Comments in response to our First Encounter production of The Taming of the Shrew include:
"The production was phenomenal. It had the perfect combination of humour, action and romance and I would watch it every day if I had the chance. It was incredible."
Audience member, aged 13
"Brought my 9 and 10 year old children for their first experience of Shakespeare. They loved it."
"This has been an outstanding and memorable production for our school children from an inner city school with English as Second Language at home. The pace, pitch and quality of having such top main theatre actors performing for children is priceless."
In July 2011 the RSC performed its specially-designed a series of Young People’s Shakespeare plays to American audiences for the first time.
A three-year partnership between the RSC and OSU aims to raise the aspirations, achievements and literacy of children and young people.