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CORONAVIRUS UPDATE

We are following all government guidelines around the Covid-19 pandemic, which includes the temporary cancellation of our in-person performances, events and other activities. Our staffing is reduced at the moment and remaining staff are working from home, so please bear with us if we’re a little slower than usual to reply.

UNLOCKING SHAKESPEARE AT HOME AND IN THE CLASSROOM

 

  • Teaching socially distanced Shakespeare: Rehearsal room ‘Live Stream’ to share COVID-safe drama practice with teachers across the UK
  • Online and on demand: launching this Autumn … RSC schools broadcast of Hamlet directed by Simon Godwin plus online courses exploring identity and representation, through the lens of Shakespeare’s plays

As young people and teachers continue to adapt to new ways of teaching and learning, the RSC has been working with teachers and RSC freelance artists to develop a range of new courses and resources to support teachers and young people learning about Shakespeare’s plays in their classroom or at home.

Across the world arts organisations are responding to the challenge of social distancing requirements. Arts subject teachers face the same challenges and the RSC, along with many other theatres around the country, are supporting teacher colleagues and students to continue to access arts experiences. We already know that arts rich schools have a direct impact on the wellbeing and social development of young people. And that arts subjects enable young people to explore their identities, helping them discover who they are now and who they want to be in the future.  There is more need than ever to ensure that all children have direct access to a range of arts subjects in primary and secondary schools.

Director of RSC Education, Jacqui O’Hanlon said:

“As young people adjust to new ways of learning and working, we continue to support the UKs brilliant teacher workforce.  We are creating new ways for students, teachers and adults to explore Shakespeare’s work, find their voices and release their creativity in a COVID-secure environment. We’re sharing best practice from the rehearsal room, finding new ways to ask big questions about the world we live in and providing opportunities for networking and support during this time of unprecedented challenge.

“We know the arts can play a crucial role in the lives of young people. By working with our partners across the UK, we remain committed to helping teachers and young people to unlock Shakespeare's plays, working with them as living, breathing, evolving texts that everyone can bring their identities and experiences to. In doing so, young people take ownership of these 400 year old plays and discover their relevance to their lives and the world we live in today”.

Theatre on demand

Following the success of previous years, the RSC schools’ Broadcast of Hamlet (2016) directed by Simon Godwin with Paapa Essiedu in the title role will be available on demand for schools across the UK from Monday 16 - Monday 23 November. A range of supporting resources and film content for teachers and students has been created to accompany the broadcast.

The RSC is also delighted to be offering young people the opportunity to experience live performances in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre this Winter as part of its soon-to-be-announced Tales for Winter season, a programme of epic tales for extraordinary times celebrating the essence of live theatre: an actor, a stage and a story. Further details will be announced later in November.

Selected performances from the Tales for Winter season will also be filmed and made available on demand throughout the spring term with supporting resources, ensuring that children and young people of all ages have access to new voices and inspirations that open up their creative engagement with making theatre and with Shakespeare’s work.

Teaching socially distanced Shakespeare in the classroom:

On Wednesday 25 November, the RSC will be streaming live from Stratford-upon-Avon for the very first time to share socially distanced drama practice with teachers and youth theatre leaders across the UK. As the RSC starts to rehearse plays adhering to social distancing guidelines, actors and directors will share how they are marking up rehearsal rooms, approaching warm-ups, tackling work on scenes and resolving staging dilemmas for drama practitioners everywhere.

This will form part of a week-long ‘Connected’ programme of learning and participation running from Monday 23 – Friday 27 November with the RSC’s Regional Partner Theatres and Associate Schools network. This specially devised week offers teachers and students the opportunity to share, connect and support each other with daily sessions exploring playmaking, local leadership and access to the RSC’s Next Generation Talent development programmes focusing on careers in theatre, backstage and onstage.

The week features sessions with children’s author Malorie Blackman (Noughts and Crosses), Professor Ayanna Thompson from Arizona university, Darren Raymond from Intermission Youth, Musician Tarek Merchant, Movement Director Ingrid Mackinnon, with contributions from regional theatre partners and young people, exploring big ideas about identity, creativity and the relevance of Shakespeare’s plays to our world today.

On demand careers advice

For students interested in finding out more about pursuing a career in theatre as well as the kinds of jobs that exist backstage, the RSC are producing a special series of films to help. They are asking teachers and students to send any in any questions and queries, and the specially recorded films will aim to answer them.

Learning resources  

The RSC has developed new courses for its 250 strong Associate Schools Programme, delivered in collaboration with its regional theatre partners across the country.  Early years children in nursery schools will be introduced to specially devised performances of Shakespeare’s Stories. Teachers will participate in Shakespeare and Literacy courses, exploring ways of inspiring and motivating children to write creatively in response to Shakespeare’s plays and teachers and students of all ages can participate in Shakespeare Discovery Sessions on any of Shakespeare’s plays.

Complex issues of identity are prevalent in our lives and our classrooms, The RSC has worked with Intermission Youth and Professor Ayanna Thompson to devise a new course on Shakespeare and Race which supports teachers in developing dialogue about identity as a central part of their exploration of any of Shakespeare’s plays.

The RSC is also launching a new education pack devised by Juliet Gilkes Romero and Debbie Korley to accompany a new audio recording of Juliet Gilkes Romero’s The Whip, which will be available to access online via the RSC’s official You Tube channel until March 2020.

The original stage production, which premiered in the Swan Theatre in 2019, ended unexpectedly earlier this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the temporary closure of the Royal Shakespeare Company stages in March.

The play explores the human cost of the multi-billion slavery compensation bill, which contained provision for the financial compensation of slave owners – rather than of slaves themselves - by the British taxpayer, for the loss of their “property” following the abolition of the slave trade in 1833.

Keep Your RSC Educating

The RSC is a charity with a mission to transform lives through amazing experiences of Shakespeare and great theatre.

The financial impact of temporary closure for the RSC, and theatres across the country, is considerable and damaging, and alongside many theatres the RSC is urgently appealing for support through the Keep You RSC campaign to:

Keep Your RSC educating

Keep Your RSC transforming lives

Keep Your RSC open for everyone

Any donations received will make a difference for young people, particularly those with less support at home.

Throughout the pandemic, RSC Education has continued to support young people and teachers around the country whether learning in school or at home. Initiatives such as 

#homeworkhelp saw RSC alumni including David Tennant, Noma Dumezweni and Adjoa Andoh answer questions from young people, and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s dedicated education website, Shakespeare Learning Zone, received over 1 million views, an increase of 300% in comparison to the same period last year.

For more information on how to help Keep Your RSC educating, visit www.rsc.org.uk/support/keep-your-RSC-educating-the-nation

Ends

For further information, please contact:

Kate Evans kate.evans@rsc.org.uk 01789 412622 or 07920 244434

For press images, please register free of charge at https://images.rsc.org.uk/

The RSC is supported using public funding by Arts Council England.

The RSC Acting Companies are generously supported by The Gatsby Charitable Foundation and The Kovner Foundation

RSC Teacher Resources are presented by Adobe

The work of the RSC Education Department is generously supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Adobe, The Clore Duffield Foundation, The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, GRoW @ Annenberg, The Allan and Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust, The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Samsung, The Polonsky Foundation, The Schroder Foundation, The Wyfold Charitable Trust, Teale Charitable Trust, The Grimmitt Trust, TAK Advisory Limited and Stratford Town Trust.

The work of the RSC Education Department is generously supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Adobe, GRoW @ Annenberg, The Allan and Nesta Ferguson Charitable Trust, The Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, Samsung, The Schroder Foundation, The Polonsky Foundation, The Goldsmiths’ Company Charity, The Ernest Cook Trust, Teale Charitable Trust, The Grimmitt Trust, TAK Advisory Limited and Stratford Town Trust.

Patron Her Majesty The Queen President His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales

Chairman of the Board Nigel Hugill

Deputy Chair Miranda Curtis Deputy Chair Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall

Artistic Director Gregory Doran Executive Director Catherine Mallyon

Royal Shakespeare Company incorporated under Royal Charter. Registered charity No. 212481

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