RSC AND SAMSUNG HELP BRING ROMEO AND JULIET TO LIFE THROUGH A DIGITAL TAKEOVER AT WELCOMBE HILLS SCHOOL
Watch a video about the work here
Samsung Electronics UK and the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) have been collaborating with students at Welcombe Hills School in Stratford-Upon-Avon, a special school for students aged 3-19, on bringing Shakespeare’s classic love story, Romeo and Juliet, to life. The school’s pupils have a wide range of additional needs including complex Moderate Learning Difficulties (MLD), Severe Learning Difficulties (SLD) and Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Welcombe Hills School is the first Lead Special School in the RSC Associate Schools Programme, powered by Samsung. The Associate Schools Programme – involving 246 schools, almost 1000 teachers and nearly 140,000 students every year - aims to widen access to Shakespeare’s work, live theatre and theatre-making.
Over two days in June, over 180 students at Welcombe Hills participated in a wide range of immersive and multi-sensory experiences in order to explore the themes, characters and key scenes in Romeo and Juliet. Throughout the activity innovative technology was used to tailor the experience for each student depending on their needs. With the support of RSC Education Associate Practitioners, every student was able to take part in sessions that enabled them to explore Shakespeare’s text through the use of technology and engage in the world of the play through the eyes of different characters.
Samsung Gear 360 cameras were used to help students film moments from the play that were being explored by their peers and then put themselves in the heart of the action through viewing the footage on the immersive Gear VR headsets. Students were also invited to take part in a creative digital costume design activity on the Samsung Flip – taking inspiration from costumes used in previous RSC productions of Romeo and Juliet. Students also had the opportunity to create their very own text-based soundscapes using easy to use music editing apps on Samsung Galaxy tablets.
Staff at the school also delivered classroom-based activities to engage students in the play, including designing trailers for their own version of Romeo and Juliet, mask-making, a multi-sensory exploration of a Verona marketplace, and creating invitations for Capulet’s ball. Students even took part in Romeo and Juliet activities in the hydrotherapy pool.
After the visit from Samsung and the RSC in June, Welcombe Hills Schools then joined 536 Associate Schools pupils from across the country in early July to present their interpretations of Romeo and Juliet on the RSC’s Swan stage.
Aleyne Johnson, Director of Government Relations & External Relations, Samsung UK said, “We are proud to support the RSC’s fantastic outreach programme enabling children and young people across the country to engage with vital cultural experiences that enrich our lives. It’s been rewarding to see how technology can play a role in widening access and tailoring learning for students at Welcombe Hills and we hope they had a memorable time.”
Georgia White, RSC Regional Associate Schools Manager, said, “As the only Lead Special School in the RSC’s Associate Schools Programme, Welcombe Hills continues to demonstrate a wonderful range of creative ways of introducing Shakespeare to all of the students at the school, adapting activities to meet the different needs of their students.
“The two days were a fantastic opportunity to bring Romeo and Juliet to life for 181 students in a way that was vivid, accessible and enjoyable for all. Staff at the school worked extremely hard to ensure that the students were engaging in activities that introduced or developed their understanding of the text, themes, characters and key scenes in the play. The different uses of technology in each of the activities really helped to immerse the students in the play, offering experiences that could be adapted for all.”
Jo Bradley, Assistant Headteacher, Welcombe Hills School, said, “Our long-standing relationship with the RSC has enabled our students to bring Shakespeare to life through multi-sensory approaches. Pupils have enjoyed playing with the language and exploring the themes of many of Shakespeare’s plays throughout their time at school. The Romeo and Juliet takeover was a true collaboration where we were able to explore how technology can play a part in engaging pupils with Shakespeare’s work. Pupils of all ages and abilities were immersed in the world of the play: each classroom became a different setting in the play, and actors and teachers worked in role. It was a truly memorable experience which saw an increase in pupil engagement and communication.”
For more information, please contact:
Dean Asker, Senior Media Relations Officer
Royal Shakespeare Company
01789 412660, firstname.lastname@example.org
Samsung and the RSC
The Associate Schools Programme partnership builds on the success of the Re:Shakespeare app* in 2015-6 and the Rome Conference series** supported by Samsung in 2017. Throughout the partnership Samsung and the RSC have sought to use technology to inspire a new generation through Shakespeare’s plays
* RE:Shakespeare is free to download on Google Play : http://bitly.com/1eUXyHc
** Rome Conference Series : https://www.samsung.com/uk/discover/news/21st-century-shakespeare/
About Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd.
Samsung inspires the world and shapes the future with transformative ideas and technologies. The company is redefining the worlds of TVs, smartphones, wearable devices, tablets, digital appliances, network systems, and memory, system LSI, foundry and LED solutions. For the latest news, please visit the Samsung Newsroom at http://news.samsung.com/uk
About RSC Associate Schools Programme
The Associate Schools Programme is our long-term partnership programme with regional theatres and schools across England. It currently consists of 246 schools and 11 regional theatre partners. It is built around the principle of schools working in local partnerships to develop communities of practice inspired by Shakespeare’s work and based on the techniques RSC actors use in rehearsals.
The Associate Schools programme is open to any state-maintained primary, secondary and special schools in England, particularly those serving areas of socio-economic disadvantage. Further information can be found at https://www.rsc.org.uk/education/associate-schools-programme
The Royal Shakespeare Company creates theatre at its best, made in Stratford-upon-Avon and shared around the world. We produce an inspirational artistic programme each year, setting Shakespeare in context, alongside the work of his contemporaries and today’s writers.
Everyone at the RSC - from actors to armourers, musicians to technicians - plays a part in creating the world you see on stage. All our productions begin life at our Stratford workshops and theatres and we bring them to the widest possible audience through our touring, residencies, live broadcasts and online activity. So wherever you experience the RSC, you experience work made in Shakespeare’s home town.
We have trained generations of the very best theatre makers and we continue to nurture the talent of the future. We encourage everyone to enjoy a lifelong relationship with Shakespeare and live theatre. We reach 530,000 children and young people annually through our education work, transforming their experiences in the classroom, in performance and online. Registered charity no. 212481 www.rsc.org.uk.
Arts Council England is the national development body for arts and culture across England, working to enrich people’s lives. We support a range of activities across the arts, museums and libraries – from theatre to visual art, reading to dance, music to literature, and crafts to collections. Great art and culture inspires us, brings us together and teaches us about ourselves and the world around us. In short, it makes life better. Between 2018 and 2022, we will invest £1.45 billion of public money from government and an estimated £860 million from the National Lottery to help create these experiences for as many people as possible across the country. www.artscouncil.org.uk