ROYAL SHAKESPEARE COMPANY VISITS NUMBER 10 TO CELEBRATE ITS WORK WITH SCHOOLS
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The Royal Shakespeare Company’ s (RSC) Young Company joined guests at Number 10 Downing Street on Monday 6 December to celebrate the RSC’s work with schools, teachers, young people, and theatres across England. The event, which was hosted by Secretary of State for Education and Stratford-on-Avon MP, Nadhim Zahawi’s department and was introduced by Robin Walker MP (Minister of State for School Standards) showcased the important role the arts play in the lives of young people and in particular their ongoing recovery from the pandemic. The event featured a performance by the RSC Young Company (Next Generation Act) who were joined by RSC actors Avita Jay and Dyfrig Morris and RSC Associate Artist Juliet Stevenson.
Talking about the event, Jacqui O’Hanlon, Director of Learning and National Partnerships commented,
‘We are privileged to work in partnership with teachers and young people across the country who on a daily basis are making a positive difference to their schools and local communities. This special event celebrates the skills and talents of those brilliant individuals who collectively inspire, challenge and transform learning outcomes every day.
‘We know that an arts rich education develops the life chances of children, contributes to their wellbeing, develops skills and behaviours that mean they do better at school, gets them ready for work and for life, and creates engaged citizens who make a positive contribution to their communities and society as a whole. We are so proud to work with schools nationally who make this a reality’.
School Standards Minister Robin Walker said:
“Shakespeare continues to play a key role in our English and Drama curriculum in secondary schools, demonstrating his timeless influence. His work invites creativity in pupils and teachers, reminding us of the importance of the arts in our society.
““I was honoured to host this event and thoroughly enjoyed the wonderful performances by the incredibly talented RSC cast & Next Generation Act company, which can play such a positive role in young people’s lives.”
The Young Company performers aged 13 – 18, form part of Next Generation Act, part of the RSC’s talent development programme which identifies individuals from the Company’s partner schools and theatres across the country who demonstrate exceptional talent and who might otherwise not consider a career in the theatre. The students follow a programme of ongoing support, tuition, training and mentoring led by leading actors and theatre practitioners. The event included representatives from Hull, Blackpool, Northampton, Bradford, Stratford-upon-Avon, Cornwall and Birmingham.
Guests experienced a workshop led by RSC Associate Learning practitioner, Emma Manton, focussing on the themes of love and relationships in Romeo and Juliet. The RSC uses the same techniques to teach Shakespeare in the classroom that RSC actors use in the rehearsal room. Widespread research demonstrates the positive results of this approach to teaching which has a direct impact on attitudes to learning and school in general, improves confidence, develops language skills and helps young people express themselves and their ideas.
Following the workshop, a performance by RSC actors and RSC Next Generation Act members included Shakespeare’s sonnets and selected extracts from plays including As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing and The Tempest as well as original songs inspired by the character of Hero in Much Ado About Nothing, written by a member of the Young Company. The performance was directed by Paul Ainsworth, RSC Next Generation Programme Developer.
Notes to Editors
323626 - Guests at Number 10 Downing Street take part in a workshop led by RSC Associate Learning practitioner, Emma Manton, focussing on the themes of love and relationships in Romeo and Juliet.
323635 – Guests at Number 10 Downing Street take part in a workshop led by RSC Associate Learning practitioner, Emma Manton, focussing on the themes of love and relationships in Romeo and Juliet.
323652 – RSC Alumni Juliet Stevenson joins RSC Next Generation Act members to perform selected extracts from plays including As You Like It, Much Ado About Nothing and The Tempest.
323655 – Next Generation ACT member Holly Stuart performs songs inspired by the character of Hero in Much Ado About Nothing
323660 – Next Generation ACT members Dorcas Ogunsanya, Holly Stuart, Mo Danina, Olivia Lang and Sahana Rackal take part in a Director’s Q & A with Paul Ainsworth
323665 - Next Generation ACT members Dorcas Ogunsanya, Holly Stuart, Mo Danina, Olivia Lang and Sahana Rackal take part in a Director’s Q & A with Paul Ainsworth
RSC Young Company members include:
Emma, (Age 13) St Mary’s College, Hull, Ella W (age 14), St Mary’s College, Hull, Alana (age 13), St Bedes Lytham, Blackpool, Ella F (age 13), St Bedes Lytham, Blackpool
Amelia (age 17), via Silhouette Youth Theatre, Northampton, Ashton (age 14) via Silhouette Youth Theatre, Northampton, Ramin, Bradford College, Bradford, Hajra, Bradford College, Bradford, Lewis (age 17) Welcombe Hills School, Stratford-upon-Avon, Saanvi (age 13, Stratford upon Avon), Alice (age 18), Welcombe Hils School, Stratford upon Avon, Sophia, Treviglas Community College, Cornwall, Mawgan, Treviglas Community College, Cornwall, Mohammed, Nelson Mandela Primary School, Birmingham and Khadijah, Nelson Mandela Primary School, Birmingham.
Number 10 RSC performance:
Sonnet 97 – performed by Juliet Stevenson
Much Ado About Nothing - Act 1 Scene 1
Benedick - Mohammed, Next Generation ACT Company member
Beatrice - Dorcas, Next Generation ACT Company member
As You Like It - Act 4 Scene 1
Rosalind – Avita Jay
Orlando – Dyfrig Morris
Much Ado About Nothing - Act 5 Scene 2
Benedick - Sahana, Next Generation ACT Company member
Beatrice – Olivia, Next Generation ACT Company member
Prospero “Ye elves of hills” – performed by Juliet Stevenson
Including songs inspired by the character of Hero from Much Ado About Nothing - written and performed by Holly, Next Generation ACT Company member
RSC Next Generation - Next Generation gives talented young people who experience structural disadvantage the chance to explore a career in acting, directing or working backstage.
From actors and make-up artists to technicians and props makers, the world seen on stage at the RSC is created by a huge pool of talented people. The Company has trained generations of the very best theatre makers but recognise that young people from low-income backgrounds remain under-represented across the industry.
From the RSC young company of actors, to discovering the next generation of directors, stage managers and theatre specialists, RSC Next Generation, is a unique talent development programme. It gives gifted young people who ordinarily find it hard to break into a career in the theatre, the opportunity to gain experience and explore whether a career in the theatre is for them. The young people involved are drawn from the RSC’s Associate Schools and Partner Theatre across England.
The RSC is supported using public funding by Arts Council England
The work of the RSC is supported by the Culture Recovery Fund
RSC Next Generation is generously supported by GRoW @ Annenberg and Harold Hyam Wingate Foundation.
Next Generation Act Company bursary places are generously supported by The Leverhulme Trust Arts Scholarship
The Associate Schools programme is supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, The Goldsmiths’ Company Charity, Teale Charitable Trust, George Fentham Birmingham Charity and The Grimmitt Trust.