Executive Summary

Funding is sought for a four-day open-space workshop laboratory involving students, academics and a leading professional director in an exploration of scenes from Hamlet. Ian Rickson (Artistic Director, Royal Court Theatre, 1998-2006) will direct Hamlet at the Young Vic Theatre in Autumn 2011 with Michael Sheen. Building on workshops and discussions which they conducted in summer 2010, he and Tony Howard (English) will collaborate with a core group of 12 students in the IATL Studio for four days of Open Space learning sessions. This laboratory will investigate interpretive and performance possibilities of scenes and themes from Hamlet, with particular focus on the processes whereby academic research can translate into production decisions.

The project is designed to bring together academics, students and a leading professional director in a creative investigative partnership.

The core laboratory group (supplemented on a daily basis by students and academics from Humanities and Social Sciences to provide specialised perspectives on aspects of Hamlet) will consist of (a) finalists who have completed the module Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists, (b) undergraduates who will be taking it from October 2011, and (c) multi-disciplinary students from across the university with a special interest in performance.

This core group will develop an Open-Space Learning Plan, Inside Hamlet, based on the laboratory, which will be shared practically through workshop with groups of students taking Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists in Autumn 2011.

The laboratory participants will also devise a larger-scale lecture-demonstration, Hamlet from the Inside, which will be presented publicly in the Arts Centre Conference Hall in Autumn 2011, open to all members of the University and the general public.

The IATL project will give students an opportunity to collaborate with one of Britain’s leading directors in a situation that will blend academic and practical learning experiences. They will be contributing directly to the development of a significant Shakespeare production, and they will have the experience of building multi-disciplinary and practice-based learning into a focused teaching project. It is also anticipated that the laboratory will have a direct influence on the pedagogic methods available for use in modules taught by Professor Howard. Selected materials will be recorded and archived, made available for wider student use, and in some cases included in the presentation Hamlet from the Inside.