YOUNG PEOPLE GO CENTRE STAGE AT THE RSC
- RSC announces details of first Youth Advisory Board
- RSC’s first young company, cast in First Encounters with Shakespeare production of The Merchant of Venice
- Time to Listen update – young people say why arts subjects matter
The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has today announced the 30 young people who will form the Company’s first Youth Advisory Board (YAB). Aged 9 -18 and from across England, the YAB will report directly to the RSC’s Board which is responsible for the governance of the RSC as a registered charity.
The RSC works with hundreds of thousands of young people every year through its education work, and the YAB will give them the opportunity to voice their opinions and ideas contributing to the Company’s vision and planning. The group will meet regularly across the year with the intention for some representatives from the YAB to progress onto the RSC’s Board.
At the same time the RSC has announced that members of its young company, RSC Next Generation ACT, will be cast as part of a professional production for the first time. They will perform in the First Encounters with Shakespeare touring production of The Merchant of Venice which will visit schools and regional theatres around the country in the autumn.
RSC Next Generation* is part of the RSC’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion programme and provides talented young people from cultures and backgrounds currently underrepresented in theatre, a route into careers and opportunities within the industry. The show will be their first taste of working alongside the RSC’s professional acting company and will be directed and edited by Robin Belfield. With 24 members, each of the Next Generation actors will take it in turns to play the parts of Jessica and Lorenzo.
For the first time ever, the tour will be co-presented by Adobe, one of the world’s largest software companies, and will feature digital learning experiences through Adobe Spark and Creative Cloud. The production will open at schools in the Midlands followed by a week at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon, then a seven-week tour of schools and regional theatres across England.
Both initiatives are underpinned by Time to Listen, the RSC, Tate and University of Nottingham-led research which highlights why young people value the arts and culture in their education. The research results demonstrate that arts subjects are one of the only places where young people’s learning is open ended with no right and wrong answers. Respondents talked about being allowed to develop their creative and critical thinking and the value of having to support and develop their own views and opinions - attributes that cannot be digitised as jobs become increasingly automated. Students also reported that arts subjects help them to develop a greater sense of their own identity, agency, self-belief, confidence, communication skills, and an appreciation of difference and diversity. They talked consistently about arts subjects as a valve for releasing pressures contributing to their health, well-being and happiness. Find out more at www.taleresearch.net
Jacqui O’Hanlon, Director of Education, said: “We need young people’s voices to be at the heart of what we do. They are the next generation - they need to be heard and we need to ensure their opinions inform decision making about their lives now and in the future.
“Our Time to Listen study drove home the extent to which young people’s views and opinions aren’t being heard. Our respondents told us overwhelmingly that they place enormous value on arts subjects and yet for all the known benefits, they also told us that the message they receive from home, school and universities is that those subjects are less valued than other subjects and therefore, less valuable to them. The initiatives we’ve outlined today and our ongoing Time to Listen campaign aims to redress some of that imbalance and give young people a platform to get their views and voices heard.”
For more information contact Jo Hammond on 07739 330294 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to Editors
Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences. For more information, visit adobe.com/uk
The work of the RSC Education Department is generously supported by PAUL HAMLYN FOUNDATION, THE ALLAN AND NESTA FERGUSON CHARITABLE TRUST, THE ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER FOUNDATION, THE POLONSKY FOUNDATION, THE ERNEST COOK TRUST and TAK ADVISORY LIMITED.
RSC Next Generation is generously supported by THE ANDREW LLOYD WEBBER FOUNDATION, GROW @ ANNENBERG, THE HAROLD HYAM WINGATE FOUNDATION AND THE JOHN S COHEN FOUNDATION.
*About RSC Next Generation:
From the first ever RSC young company of actors, to discovering the next generation of directors, managers and theatre specialists, RSC Next Generation, is a unique skills development programme that gives talented young people who are currently underrepresented in the industry the opportunity to gain experience and explore whether a career in the theatre is for them.
The programme has three strands;
- RSC Next Generation ACT: Up to 24 talented youngsters aged 13-18 will join RSC Next Generation to hone and develop their skills as actors.
- RSC Next Generation DIRECT: This strand is for young people aged 18+ who demonstrate the obvious creative leadership and directing skills needed to take a play from page to stage.
- RSC Next Generation BACKSTAGE: Each year 40 - 50 students aged 13-18 are given a ‘Backstage Pass’ to discover what goes on behind the scenes to bring each production to life.
About First Encounters with Shakespeare:
First Encounters with Shakespeare productions are edited versions of Shakespeare’s plays performed using the original language and over the past decade have been enjoyed by over 100,000 people to date. The productions are intended as an introduction to Shakespeare’s work and live performance and feature opportunities for schools to participate directly for example, making props or forming the chorus in performances in their local area.
Adobe will co-present the 2019 tour which for the first time, will include a digital learning experience through Adobe Spark and Creative Cloud. Teachers will also receive free teaching resources full of creative exercises and ideas combining Adobe’s cutting-edge technological expertise with the RSC’s unique rehearsal room approach to teaching Shakespeare. Giving teachers an understanding of how to use the techniques that RSC actors use in rehearsals to unlock Shakespeare’s language and plays, the resources will also integrate Adobe’s creative tools including video, production, graphics and animation. In turn, for students who are native content creators, it gives the opportunity to explore their creativity around a core subject.
About the Royal Shakespeare Company
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 rsc.org.uk.