Ellen from Bradford College shares her experiences being part of the RSC National Schools' Festival 2017.

Students from St Bede's and St Joseph's Catholic College, Samuel Lister Academy and Bradford College performed together on stage
Andrew Fox © RSC Browse and license our images

Just over a week ago I performed on the Swan Theatre stage as part of the National Schools' Festival, performing Julius Caesar... and it was one of the best experiences of my life! 

The feeling of being on stage is always amazing but being on the Swan was incredible. Being involved with the National Schools' Festival was such a learning experience and I had the honour of getting to work with amazing staff and crew from the RSC, including director mentors (Mel helped me discover who Portia was by dissecting the language and having conversations about how I could portray that - thank you Mel), a voice coach (81 students chanting “I'm a happy, happy bear!”), set and costume designers (I got face gems!)  and front of house staff. 

One of the highlights of the trip (other than performing, obviously) was when all 81 students got to do a vocal warm up in the theatre together. This is something that happens when everyone commits fully to being a little bit silly (we had to say “frog feet” to each other). I felt that I was part of a company after that and was ready to go out and perform.  

I know this sounds like a cliché but the whole of the process was so wonderful: the rehearsing with the other students, the unpicking of the language, being in the theatre and running the play, listening to the other groups' sections and performing our section!

This has reminded me how much I love to speak and perform Shakespeare. This is a memory that will be cherished forever!

Words: Ellen, Bradford College