Executive Summary

This is a one-day project, an academic intervention reaching 180 students on EN301 (Shakespeare and Selected Dramatists of his Time) a final year core course, that continues the interactive, practice-based pedagogy pioneered at the CAPITAL Centre. Four years ago, Northern Broadsides director Barrie Rutter brought Lenny Henry and three actors to the Millburn House studio for a day’s pre-rehearsal of Othello in front of Warwick students who weren’t just observers but collaborators in the actors’ beginning work on the play – on what would be Lenny Henry’s first Shakespeare role, indeed, his first role in a ‘straight’ play. From the day’s work, both director and actor gathered direct academic insight from students, and students got a crash course in the practical reading of Shakespeare’s plays as scripts, one of the major subject ideas we aim to teach in the first term of EN301.

Now Broadsides is interested to return to our studio, this time to begin work on Macbeth, with Henry in the title role. Seven actors will be involved, offering a full day’s set of scene/speech try-outs. Students will observe and collaborate with practitioners in the rehearsal process.

I would aim to maximise the numbers of students able to attend the day’s activity by offering two ‘sittings’, organising morning and afternoon sessions, and running the studio to full seating capacity.

I would also aim to reach other stakeholders by inviting academics from other departments who might be interested in using this form of intervention in their own teaching – e.g., Kate Astbury (French, who worked with CAPITAL Creative Fellow Lucy Cullingford), Alexandra de Martino Capuccio (Italian, who works with Silvija Jestrovic on performance/translation), Rachel Dickinson (Education). A de-briefing afterwards reflecting on the value of the intervention will be written up informally as a case study.