Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) actors have been answering students’ questions about Shakespeare and drama studies during lockdown.
RSC Associate Artist, David Tennant responded to a question about his favourite Hamlet soliloquy while others including David Bradley, Paapa Essiedu, Niamh Cusack, Charlotte Arrowsmith and Noma Dumezweni have offered homework help to students.
As they are currently unable to rehearse or perform, the actors have volunteered to share their tips and answer questions about Shakespeare and drama studies whilst under lockdown.
Here’s David Tennant’s response:
The Royal Shakespeare Company has received hundreds of questions from young people studying Shakespeare as part of its #RSCHomeworkHelp initiative. It said questions have ranged from ‘do you have any advice for performing on Zoom?’, ‘how would you update the servants in Romeo and Juliet?’ to ‘if Julius Caesar was a radio play, how would you stage the assassination scene?’ and ‘Which sister is worse, Goneril or Regan?’
Due to its success, the scheme will continue into the summer term and new questions can now be sent either by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #RSCHomeworkHelp. The actors will then respond to the students’ questions through a mixture of written and video responses which will all shared on the RSC’s website.
The Company has also launched a package to help support young people with their learning at home including a series of Activity Toolkits to help learners unlock Shakespeare. Each one has fun, 15-minute activities that young people can try themselves.
See examples of the Activity Toolkits here.
The Toolkits help those new to Shakespeare or young people looking for ways to extend their GCSE learning. They are suitable for all ages to unlock the plays’ language, themes, characters and plots.
Each toolkit contains 20 fifteen-minute activities which range from watching actors in rehearsal, recreating Duncan’s murder scene or making puppets, to recording voxpops, creating storyboards, arranging fight scenes or choreographing a dance for the Capulet’s Ball in Romeo and Juliet.
The first RSC Activity Toolkits are now available for free on the RSC’s website and focus on some of Shakespeare’s best-known plays, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Macbeth, plus Othello, Much Ado About Nothing and The Merchant of Venice, which are all available to see on BBC iPlayer.
Young people are invited to post activities completed from the toolkits online as part of the RSC’s #ShareyourShakespeare – an invitation for people to come together and celebrate Shakespeare and his plays online.
Other online resources from the RSC:
- BBC Bitesize: the RSC will deliver a further week (15th - 19th June) of GCSE lesson plans themed around Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet as part of the BBC’s ongoing Bitesize programme. There will be daily Shakespeare lessons for Year 10 students and special insights from RSC actors and directors about how to decode Shakespeare’s language and bring the plays to life for today’s audiences.
- Culture in Quarantine: the RSC has also teamed up with the BBC as part of its Culture in Quarantine programme. Six RSC productions (chosen to link to the school curriculum and supported by the Activity Toolkits) are now available to view for free on iPlayer.
- Shakespeare Learning Zone: games, videos, timelines, character, plot summaries and more help to unlock the plays.
- Live Lessons: the RSC’s Live Lessons on Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet are available for you to watch and take part in at any time. There are also a number of Primary and Secondary lessons co-produced by the RSC and the BBC that can be watched at any time.
- RSC’s YouTube channel: contains a selection of educational videos including introductions to language terms such as iambic pentameter, actor-lead tutorials exploring the techniques they use to get to grips with a text and full online performances including Tim Crouch’s I, Cinna.
- Teacher resources are free to download from the RSC website including teacher packs by play and Key Stage.