Our Reach Out and Education programme is an integral part of our work. It offers exciting opportunities to explore the place of Shakespeare’s stories in today’s world and has been devised by experienced artists and practitioners to enrich and creatively transform lives.
The programme can be delivered in a variety of settings, to groups and individuals based on their needs and situations.
The content will be linked to the main productions featuring our unique and dynamic approach to staging —a fusion of European dramatic styles.
Our methods emphasise active physical learning involving music, games, rhymes, songs, and performing scenes, sometimes simplified from the plays.
We deliver projects around a central theme to bring communities together, run workshops, devise pieces of theatre for performance in less traditional settings and bring theatre direct to the people.
In the summer of 2017, we developed a project in Peterborough called ‘Alien's Order’ linked to themes from ‘The Merchant of Venice’. It was made possible following our successful application to the Arts Council for our first grant. The central idea was the experience of Italians coming to the UK after WW2 to look for work. Many of them had to register for an identification card called Alien's Order. Portia refers to the word in the trial scene - “if it be proved against an alien”.
We held workshops involving people of all ages at an Italian community centre, in primary schools, at the City Museum and with a language school. A local writer produced six short pieces of pop up street theatre staged at the two-day Italian festival in the city centre. We partnered with local organisations including Metal, who champion the need for investment in artistic innovation and provide practical support to practising artists.
Exploring the plays through a wide range of sensory experiences, including music and movement, we will use different models to engage young people. The aim is to take this learning back into their everyday environment.
Our programme is engaging and interactive and can be adapted to individual needs.
Young Offenders Units and Prisons
In workshops in YOI units and prisons we hope to help participants to affect social change and personal transformation through creative engagement.
We’re also engaging with Womeninprison.org.uk in Woking which runs weekly drop in sessions for former prisoners. We'll devise work with the women for a performance for International Women's Day on March 8th and their Arts Day in September. The aim is to give each participant the opportunity to tell her story. The project is called 'All that Glitters is not Gold - but it's my time to shine - How do we know who we are?' Please see the relevant page for wonderful audience comments after the show on March 8th.
In collaboration with East Sussex Libraries, we recently took part in Rhyme Time sessions at Links, a weekly drop in centre for asylum seekers and refugees in Hastings. We sang nursery rhymes with mums and babies and did all the actions of the songs as a way to help them with their English language learning. http://www.platforma.org.uk/rhymetime
The next phase is to develop the programme for other refugee groups to include songs from the plays as a means to have fun and explore themes that are relevant to their lives.
Corporate training is an area where we can use Shakespeare to help businesses with issues like communication skills of the workforce.
We will focus on skills to help with presentations and speeches such as use of voice and body language. The participants can create scenes, present them and then discuss what they learned and achieved. We’re talking to voice coach Laura Hart about opportunities of working with UK companies. www.laurahart.co.uk