08 Mar

As an English and Drama teacher for nearly three decades, I have had my fair share of Shakespeare training with the likes of The Globe, David Farmer and Shakespeare for Schools. I have directed The Tempest, Macbeth and Midsummer Nights Dream and taught Shakespeare texts to KS3 and 4 English students. I recently took part in an online RSC event and was reminded of things I learned long ago as well as introduced to new techniques, what I particularly enjoyed was getting up on our feet over zoom in our kitchens, so when I heard about the teaching certificate I knew instantly that's what I wanted to do.

On a crisp and sunny March morning I travelled to Stratford-upon-Avon to undertake a two day course in the Foundation Certificate in Teaching Shakespeare with The Royal Shakespeare Company. There, I joined 20 Drama and English teachers at The Clore Learning Centre, led by the marvellous Cat, Maria, and Conrad.

Day 1 was a playful, insightful exploration of The Tempest. We were up on our feet in seconds, and it pretty much stayed that way unless we needed to sit and talk and write our reflections of which I gained insight and saw how well it would work in schools. I was struck by how easy it is to use with weaker learners, only using small chunks of text in a fun way, not getting bogged down with meaning.  It is a refreshing and playful way to analyse Shakespeare and higher end learners would be equally challenged too. A particular highlight for me was having supper together at the infamous Dirty Duck before watching The Tempest at the Swan Theatre, starring Alex Kingston as a female Prospero. It was a stunning production and the washed-up debris on the shore a constant reminder of the sorry state of our planet. 

Day 2, we chatted about the show and responded physically to the characters' mannerisms and movement we saw on the stage the previous evening and then delved into Macbeth. Day 3 will be in June where we will reunite to share our practice in schools in terms of how the students will have responded to and understood the text using the RSC rehearsal techniques, we will continue to explore further and deeper with Romeo and Juliet.

I will eventually gain the certificate at both intermediate and advanced levels and offer workshops to support KS3 and KS4 English classes. During my workshops, I will use the RSC, Globe and SSF techniques and approaches to engage students with their specific Shakespeare play. I will encourage them to explore the characters, language, and themes using the exercises. My aim is to create a supportive and playful environment that allows students to experiment and discover their own interpretations of the text and help develop their confidence and analytical skills.

I am really looking forward to bringing the playfulness we encountered to young people over the next few months and have enjoyed learning new ways of working with Shakespeare. Please get in touch if you would like to book me for your English classes, whatever your set text and I will be happy to cater to your specific needs .

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