In place of our regular 'Hearing from the Head' column, we’ve handed this feature over to some of the students who performed in Romeo and Juliet

Romeo and Juliet production photos_ young company_ Stratford-upon-Avon College_2018_Photo by Topher McGrillis _c_ RSC_249317

'During my time working alongside the RSC I have discovered a range of skills that allow me to express my capabilities as an actor. It has been a brilliant experience for us as young people, as we have been introduced to professional acting through an enthralling and relatable play, although written over four hundred years ago. With students being involved in this play it gives it a modern twist, linking to problems we face today, despite the fact it has been performed again and again for hundreds of years. I am so proud of my fellow students and I. I would love to work with the RSC again.'
Anna, Uxbridge High School

'At first I didn't find Shakespeare easy and I had to focus on the words and the text as it was totally different to anything we'd worked with. But then something happened, I started to connect with the emotion within the story and with the characters and themes. Suddenly I realised that this was not scary or different, in fact it was exactly what goes on in our lives and he was talking about things that I have experienced. I fell in love with the plays, the characters, the stories and his writing. When they asked me to be part of the cast I was so excited because I feel that this play talks to young people directly. We face the emotions and deal with divisions all the time. Erica showed us how this play gives young people a voice - I was hooked! There is so much in it that is relevant. Our voices need to be heard and we can make a change in the society we live in. It is so sad that in this play two beautiful lives need to be lost for their parents and adults to realise that they need to change.'
Damilola, Lings Performing Arts Academy

'I think we all have a connection with the play. In modern day society we still have that 'forbidden love'. Many people around the world have to go through what Rome and Juliet experience. I believe Shakespeare understood that young people will always be willing to fight and die for what they believe in. When the country was voting on Brexit, 73% of 18-24 year olds voted to remain as they showed they are willing to fight for what they believe in. I also think with knife crime being the main cause of death in the play, it's more relevant now than ever. In 2017 alone there were 34,000+ reported knife crimes and, just like in Romeo and Juliet, the young, the future of tomorrow, are those most involved.'
Rufaro, Stratford-upon-Avon College

'The tale of two rival lovers presented in Romeo and Juliet is still relevant today because it highlights how excessive pride can result in awful bloodshed and led to overwhelming grief in families. The play includes universal themes such as unrequited love, mutual love, transcience, ambition, arranged marriage, the submission of women, family tension etc. Our current society is suffering due to mass violence and knife crime. Therefore the same scenario could occur in any part of London. Additionally, our freedom of speech in this social climate has become harmful due to negative ideologies that have attacked minority groups. This had led to civil unrest and prejudice among many. However, being given such an amazing opportunity of performing in the RSC's Romeo and Juliet, give us hope and allows us to learn the process and etiquette of being in a highly accredited production. This means everything to us as aspiring actors and we are extremely grateful for it.'
Kieron, Eastbury Community School

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