Taking Shakespeare to Y9 and Y10 pupils in Middlesbrough.
Year 9 and 10 pupils from Macmillan Academy in Middlesbrough have found new confidence in their drama studies as a result of working with the RSC.
The 13 to 15 year olds have brought rehearsal room approaches into their learning, which in the words of one Year 10 student “allows Shakespeare to be tackled from a different perspective”.
Desks are pushed to one side as the pupils experiment with and interpret the text in their own way. The new techniques have helped to build a ‘comfort zone of understanding’ when looking at Shakespeare’s language - a Year 9 student explains that “when it’s fun you learn more”, and another student describes these classes as a welcome relief from the pressures of study: “I’m already stressed; watching and doing drama makes me happy”.
Students from Macmillan have explored and then performed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry IV, Henry V and The Tempest, an experience that has enabled them to work together as a ‘company’, despite being in different year groups.
Teachers at Macmillan describe the rise in their students’ confidence as "inspiring", and speak of a general feeling of excitement in passing on the rewards of studying Shakespeare to a new generation. As drama teacher Lynsey puts in, "Working with the RSC has opened new avenues for our students. They have performed on the stage of the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford, something that will stay with them forever!”