The English Through Shakespeare programme makes use of the following types of session:
- Understanding the social and historical context of Shakespeare’s writing in Elizabethan England
- Shakespeare’s use of pre-existing sources in the writing of his plays, such as historical chronicles, Italian plays and Classical texts
- Shakespeare’s influence on English Literature as a master of comedy and tragedy
- Taming of the Shrew v Kiss Me Kate! Awareness of the contrast between the genres of traditional drama and modern musical theatre.
- From Play to Opera - Verdi’s Otello based on Shakespeare’s tragedy Othello. Exploring what is lost and what is gained in transferring a Shakespearean tragedy to an opera. Students will apply critical skills in discussing this question.
- Transferring the Play into Film - Looking at classical Hollywood films of Shakespeare’s plays. How films have allowed Shakespeare's plays to be presented in new and exciting forms.
- Othello and Early and Contemporary Attitudes to Race. Giving students supported practice in analysing and interpreting extracts of the play. Students will be introduced to four key characters, will engage in role play and will use persuasive language to act out a mock court case.
- Crossing Boundaries - An Introduction to Shakespeare Across Disciplines
Practising the use of drama techniques as a powerful tool in academic learning in many disciplines, from Medicine to Law, or History to Business, using open space teaching techniques.
- Using the Voice - Shakespeare Unlocked
This practical session will look at two of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedies, Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet. There will be attention to voice-work in a theatrical sense (using exercises from a workshop designed by the Royal Shakespeare Company): projecting the voice; pacing; pausing; rhythm; stressing key words
- Extracts from Shakespeare - Scene Study from a Play
A focus on analysing the language of a few key scenes or speeches from the plays.
- Stereotypes and attitudes towards women and different races in Shakespeare’s time.
- “Shall I compare thee to a what?!” Translating Shakespeare’s Sonnets
Students will explore what happens when some of Shakespeare’s most famous sonnets are translated between different languages and cultures. Including looking at sonnets that have been translated into students’ first language(s), as a way of understanding the processes involved in interpreting Shakespeare in different cultural and linguistic contexts.
- Rehearse and present a Shakespearean monologue
Students will work individually on a chosen Shakespearean monologue with support from their tutor. Emphasis will be on using the voice effectively to present the monologue to their group.
- Bringing heightened language to life in performance
Fostering an ‘ensemble’ way of working, using heightened language to build participants’ confidence in using the language in performing extracts from a play.
- Study Rehearsal of a Scene from a Play (in season at the RSC/Globe)
To develop the ‘ensemble’ way of working, looking at key speeches in the current play at the RST or Globe and helping to build confidence in performance skills.
- Disguise in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night
Introducing students to the theme of disguise in Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night. Emphasis will be on close reading of a selection of scenes, with particular attention to voice work and punctuation. It will develop students’ ability to read Shakespearean language alongside a modern translation. Students will use minimal props to act out scenes, and attention will be paid to the full physicality – the use of the body – involved in speaking.
- Pairwork - a Shakespearean Duologue
Students will work as a pair on a chosen Shakespearean duologue with support from their tutor. Emphasis will be on sharing the text, picking up cues from their partner and using the voice effectively to present the duologue to their group.
- Shakespeare’s global influence on the English language today
Students will look at how Shakespeare has influenced English language and literature throughout the globe. The focus will be grammatical changes since Shakespeare’s time, and, depending on learners’ first language background, they may discover that Shakespearean English is actually closer in some ways to their own language. Practical exercises will include translating into Shakespeare into students’ own language.
- Intercultural Shakespeare
Students will consider whether and how every encounter with Shakespeare is intercultural, by looking at both the intercultural elements in Shakespeare’s plays and poems, and the intercultural processes involved when people around the world read, watch, perform and adapt his work.