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What is Hybrid Shakespeare?

As the name implies, Hybrid Shakespeare is the bouncing offspring of two cross-breeding parents. You know what ‘traditional’ seminars are like; you can read here about Shakespeare Without Chairs. Hybrid Shakespeare is what happens when you marry these two approaches and create a third entity. Hybrid sessions, in effect, combine seminar conversations with practical work in more or less equal measure. ‘Practical work’ is an umbrella term for a wide range of ways of approaching early modern plays through activity. It does not require ‘acting’ in the thespian sense, but it does require you to be active, to be willing to speak lines, to stage debates, to help put scenes on their feet, to create 'theory-building' collages, and to work in three dimensions.


The hybrid approach emphasizes a number of aspects of performance/theatre and tries to incorporate them into its teaching and learning. For example, theatre engages all of the senses, it is dynamic and three-dimensional, and it exists as an unfolding relationship between participants and collaborators. In hybrid seminars, these elements feature not only in the seminar's content/subject-matter, but will shape the form of its activities, always allowing for a balance between action and reflection. In practice this means that seminars will embrace a broad and eclectic range of techniques and will usually resemble an active workshop-space more than they do a rehearsal room.


Another way of weighing up your options is to think about what your body will be doing. In traditional seminars, it is likely that you will remain seated for 90mins. In Without Chairs it is highly likely you’ll be on your feet for the whole workshop. In Hybrid, you’ll be up and down, on and off your chair, depending on the exercise. Because flexibility and variety is central to the Hybrid approach, the sessions take place in open, theatrical spaces such as the Capital Studio in Milburn House.


This academic year, about 70 students (roughly one third of the entire cohort) chose to study Hybrid. Talk to one or two of them before you make your decision!


Nb: ‘Hybrid’, ‘Traditional’ and ‘Without Chairs’ students all follow the same syllabus of plays and are assessed in the same way (50% assessed essay or creative project; 50% exam). There is no assessment advantage in choosing one route over another.