Going Forth With The Shakespearience…

What: Go Forth With The Shakespearience

Where: Ravenscourt Arts, Hammersmith

Who: The Shakespearience

When: May 2017

One day whilst I was in Stratford-Upon-Avon with the Royal Shakespeare Company, I woke up in my hotel room with a fairly fully formed idea for bringing Shakespeare to schools, using professional actors and musicians, and giving young people a first exposure to live theatre.

It’s now 8 years since we started working with local schools as part of their literature programme. We’ve always worked with the schools in the areas of faith and religious education but we thought as well as enhancing the teaching in those areas, we ought to give back to the community in the areas that God has gifted us in. This has meant that over those years we’ve worked on poetry workshops (with Paul Cookson), performances of Shakespeare and more recently, since Chris Jarvis has joined us in a range of other hands-on activities.

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Ascend the Bright Heaven of Invention

What: Henry V by William Shakespeare

Who: The Royal Shakespeare Company

Where: The Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon

When: October 1st, 2015

Sometimes the Royal Shakespeare Company’s “devices” to make a particular production innovative and relevant to the modern audience don’t work. I’m amongst their sharpest critics when they don’t. Occasionally they do. Now whilst audiences members that I spoke to after the performance and during the interval were divided, I have to say I fall into the positive camp when it comes to this most recent production of Henry the Fifth.

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I Understand A Fury In Your Words. But Not The Words.

What: Othello by William Shakespeare

Where: Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon

When: 11th June 2015

“We’ve tried to make it less ridiculous, so we’ve cut some lines… which leaves us open to the accusation that by doing so we have made it less sublime – we’ve cut some of the music of Othello”.

– Hugh Quashie (Othello) in conversation with the Stratford-Upon-Avon Herald.

It is indeed interesting when the principal actor in a Shakespeare production describes the plotline of one of the Bard’s plays as being ridiculous – so ridiculous that it is worth spoiling the rhythm and rhyme of the play to correct. One might even consider this a kind of arrogance.

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