Reach Out

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.

Communities

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, #AssociateDeveopment community engagement specialist Collette Parker and Mary Chater 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 (#ACE) 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'sOrder. 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.

In spring 2021, we were delighted to be given an award from the #EleanorRathboneFoundation to do more work with #TheVenusCentre in #Bootle, #Liverpool as a result of a performance project there for friends and family in late 2019 on #TwelfthNight with Professor Charlotte Scott and Mary Chater.

In late summer 2021, we ran a 4 day summer school for 14 - 18 year olds partnering with #TrustforDevelopingCommunities and #BrightonPermacultureTrust in Racehill Community Orchard in #Brighton. The theme of the 4 days was transformation in Nature using film making, music, excerpts from #AMidsummerNightsDream and #RomeoandJuliet and mask and craft work. The project was funded by the Arts Council -#ACE and marked our first foray into working outside - it was a great success!

Following on our first production ( 'A Merchant of Venice' Bill Alexander's new 6 character version of the original text) in late 2021, we were awarded money from the #CliffordChanceFoundation to work on an established programme with Collette Parker called Well Written in conjunction with St Charles' Mental Health Unit in London #W10. The participants came to the show and then began writing on themes from the play - alienation, injustice etc with an established writer and filmmaker. This is still ongoing but due to the Omicron variant of Covid may be postponed or go online in January 2022. 

Special Needs 

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.

Mary Chater and Professor Charlotte Scott took #ACE funded 'A Midsummer Night's Dream Mashup' into HMP Styal in late summer 2019 and worked with women towards a performance in the gym which was widely attended. Mary then returned in December for the Christmas show for friends and family members which was a great hit!

Refugee Groups 

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.

 

The Workplace

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