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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The pleasure of poetry with Paul Cookson

I first met Paul Cookson in the early 1980s at an Arts Festival called Greenbelt. Back then he was writing poems for adults and selling them in self-published booklets on the “fringe” area of the festival.

A couple of years later he had found his true vocation and graduated to writing poems for children. We started doing schools presentations of his work about 15 years ago and when I opened the theatre “Ravenscourt Arts@ Ravenscourt Baptist Church”, his performances became a regular if occasional part of our repertoire at the theatre as we have invited Paul to work with local schools groups.

This tradition continued in March 2016 as over 800 young people joined Paul over 6 events and laughed, worked with words, invented rhymes, and wrote their own poetry.

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A Cracker for Christmas

What: A Christmas Cracker

Who: Riding Lights Theatre Company

Where: Ravenscourt Arts, Hammersmith, London

When: December 9 & 10th 2015

This was the second annual Christmas play / pantomime at the Ravenscourt Arts theatre in Hammersmith and saw the theatre once again join forces with the Riding Lights Theatre Company from York to bring joy to the lives of an audience who were mostly between the ages of 4 and 11 with a smattering of teachers and parents.

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Cracker the Dog

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An Embarrassment of Riches

Who: Daughters of Davis

Where: Ravenscourt Arts, Ravenscourt Road, Hammersmith, London

When: October 3rd, 2015.

The season at Ravenscourt Arts ended at the beginning of the summer with an outstanding concert of acoustic music from Judie Tzuke which played to a sold-out venue. The show tonight had one of those things in common. This was truly a night of great acoustic music even if there were a number of vacant seats around. No accounting for that – last time Daughters of Davis played here, they played to a very healthy audience indeed so let’s concentrate on the music.

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More Songs and Stories

Who: Judie Tzuke

What: Songs and Stories Tour

Where: Ravenscourt Arts, Hammersmith, London

When: 11th April 2015

On the opening night of Judie Tzuke’s first UK wide all-acoustic tour, questions were invited from the audience as they will be on every night of this long jaunt around the country.

One sample question: What do you do to keep your voice so strong for so long?

Answer: Nothing. I was once given some vocal exercises but I’m afraid I’ve forgotten them.

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The Shakespearience Too at Ravenscourt Arts

Presenting Shakespeare for ages 10-14 (i.e. the ages before they start formally studying the writer for exams in school) is not an easy task but it is a challenge that I have set myself over these last six years and I have to say with some degree of success.

This year was our largest project to date. With 1600-1700 young people signed up to attend and with our troupe now firmly esconced in our own theatre at Ravenscourt Arts, we decided to strip back to basics and bring in a new cast to work with a new script. Time to take some risks.

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The Shakespearience Too!

In the second half of March, our theatre “Ravenscourt Arts” will host “The Shakespearience Too”.

This is the latest venture for our own production company “The Shakespearience” which Darren Hirst founded in 2009 to present an introduction to Shakespeare for young people of pre-GCSE school age.

When the Shakespearience first began to work together, it was actors, a tour bus and props but since our own theatre opened, life has been much easier.

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