We use the same techniques to teach Shakespeare that RSC actors use in the rehearsal room

Next Generation ACT Rehearsals September 2017_2017_Photo by Rob Freeman _c_ RSC_240293

What are rehearsal room approaches to Shakespeare?

There are direct parallels between teaching and learning in the classroom and the way that plays are developed in the theatre. The process of rehearsing a play is collaborative. As a group, the actors and director will make choices about the interpretation of plot, characters, themes and language of the play. They also explore the key themes and dilemmas that are present in the text.

Rehearsal room approaches focus on:

  • Establishing the world in which the story is taking place
  • Telling the story
  • Discovering the characters
  • Exploring the language

Read example classroom activities


How will rehearsal room approaches benefit my students?

Rehearsal room approaches can help students of all ages and abilities unlock Shakespeare's language.

This way of working can produce sophisticated analytical responses, both verbal and written, challenging the most able learners as well as motivating the most reluctant.

We've found that using techniques from our rehearsal room has many other remarkable results:

  • Improved experiences of, and opinions about, Shakespeare
  • Directly impacts on attitudes to learning and school in general
  • Improves student confidence
  • Develops language ability
  • Helps young people to express themselves and their ideas more clearly

What's the evidence?

In the most comprehensive research study of its kind, the Royal Shakespeare Company, Tate and the University of Nottingham have joined together to examine the benefits of taking arts and education seriously. 

Find out about #TimeToListen

Following work undertaken by The University of Warwick, we now have robust research that indicates the positive impact our way of working with Shakespeare has on young people, their teachers, schools and wider community.

The findings show that rehearsal room approaches to studying Shakespeare can significantly improve student language skills and acquisition. In particular, some of the schools surveyed reported increased SATs and GCSE English scores. 

Read the RSC Schools Survey Final Report

You can also explore our series of classroom case studies. A group of teachers were asked to record the changes that happened in their classrooms as a result of their work with the RSC and their regional theatre.

You will find reports of improvements in pupil progress and attainment, examples of how teachers supported colleagues to adopt new approaches to teaching Shakespeare and discoveries about the wider impact of our work on parents and the local community.

Read Classroom Case Studies

How can my students experience rehearsal room approaches?

Below are all the ways in which teachers and young people can work on Shakespeare using rehearsal room approaches.

Events and Workshops for Students

Explore our range of opportunities in Stratford-upon-Avon for young people from KS1 to Undergraduate.

CPD Courses in Stratford-upon-Avon

From one-day courses to our RSC Certificate in Teaching Shakespeare, we offer a range of courses to suit teachers at all stages of their career.

Bespoke Professional Development in your School

Wherever you are in the UK we can bring a bespoke CPD course to you from as little as £35 per teacher

Shakespeare Learning Zone

Explore our online resource to help young people unlock Shakespeare the way actors and directors do in rehearsal.

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