Ohio teachers at the RSC

21 June 2010

'Over this past year, we have seen the transformative power of bringing Shakespeare into the classroom'

Twenty public school teachers from Ohio in America will spend a week with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon between 27 June - 3 July.

As part of a three year partnership with The Ohio State University (OSU), the teachers will work closely with the RSC Education Department. They will learn practical ways of bringing Shakespeare's work alive in the classroom, as embodied in the RSC's Stand Up For Shakespeare Manifesto.* Closely supported by teacher educators from OSU, the teachers will then take their experiences back to their classrooms in America, enriching the education of thousands of schoolchildren in grades 1-12.

In addition to seeing three RSC productions, the teachers will spend time with RSC Artistic Director, Michael Boyd, and take part in workshops with Senior Text and Voice coach, Alison Bomber.

Rob Elkington, Head of School Partnerships from RSC Education, said:
"This is the second year we have welcomed teachers from Ohio to the RSC. Many of the teachers have never taught Shakespeare before, and work in schools where Shakespeare would not normally form part of the curriculum, so the educators have a twofold challenge: to develop personal confidence in the work, and to learn and practise new ways of teaching it. Everyone involved in the initiative believes strongly that, when you use practical teaching methods, engaging students with Shakespeare can be transformative to their learning."

The teachers will be accompanied by 10 Master of Fine Arts students in Theatre, who are on a three year post graduate acting course. In the UK the RSC offers its actors the opportunity to develop skills in the teaching of Shakespeare; the actors from Ohio will learn how they can use their skills in a similar way with young people.

Karen Bell, Associate Vice President and Head of the Arts Initiative at Ohio State, said:
"Over this past year, we have seen the transformative power of bringing Shakespeare into the classroom, as our first group of school teachers is implementing the techniques they learned from the RSC. The new group coming to Stratford this month has the unique opportunity to combine the talents of teachers in our public schools with OSU acting students and the expertise of the RSC to truly engage students through the study and performance of Shakespeare."

For further press information, photos or interviews please contact:
Dean Asker, RSC Press Office 01789 412660, dean.asker@rsc.org.uk

Notes to editors:
* Stand up for Shakespeare is the RSC's manifesto for Shakespeare in Schools which has three simple aims: To start Shakespeare earlier, see live productions and to do Shakespeare on their feet as actors do, not sitting behind a desk.

Public school education in America is the equivalent of British state schooling. Grades 1-12 encompass 6-18 year olds.

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Teaching Shakespeare