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 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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Shakespeare, the Shakespearience and “the Shakespearience too”

What: The Shakespearience Too

Who: The Shakespearience Production Company

Where: Ravenscourt Arts, Hammersmith, London

When: March 2015

In 2009, I had a dream. I mean literally. I had a dream. I woke up in my hotel in Stratford-Upon-Avon with a notion that I should start a theatre company that would present Shakespeare for schoolchildren in a way that would be informative, entertaining and educational. I was in town to review a play by the Bard but I have to say that I can’t even remember which one. But I do remember what happened next.

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