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Royal Shakespeare Company Conference

Last week I spent a really fascinating three days with my colleagues at the RSC and from other theatres across England. After the three -hour train journey it feels like you are entering another world in Stratford. I sat on a bench near the River Avon watching the swans on the grass and waiting for the first of our busy days to start. Lecturers Steve, Karen and Helen joined us from Edge Hill University along with teachers from our Blackpool and Wyre schools and of course Jo Cleasby who co-ordinates the RSC Schools programme for us at the Grand.

The food is always good at the RSC conferences and maybe it’s a northern thing but every time we go we say how good it is! However, this time what sticks in my mind is the food for thought that all the workshops, talks and presentations gave me.  We were exploring how to explain the impact that this work has on improving speaking and listening, confidence and well-being. Also how working with the challenging language of Shakespeare has strengthened their creative writing skills and overall literacy.

In Blackpool and across the country thousands of children take part in high quality acting workshops, perform in their local theatres and at the RSC as well as delving deep into Shakepeare’s plays.  In our Blackpool schools programme there are currently been 31 schools involved. That is over 3000 children.  They have performed an abridged version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and of Julius Caesar on the Grand Theatre stage, performed in Stanley Park and on the Comedy Carpet. Our fantastic team of teachers and Grand Theatre staff are working together on our next big Schools Shakespeare Festival in March 2018. They will be performing Macbeth. (link)

The children involved are as young as seven and now we have the first Young Shakespeare Council. 40 children, parents, teachers represent all the schools involved. They wanted to set this up to spread the word and help other children “ make friends with Shakespeare”. They have had two workshop meetings so far and are helping to create the programme over the next year.  We are really looking forward to welcoming Erica Whyman the Deputy Artistic Director of the RSC to our Grand Network meeting to share our programme.

 

The Creative Learning Department  run many events throughout the year for ages 3 to 103! Just keep visiting our blog to hear about the next event or sign up to the Grand Theatre’s Twitter or Facebook page. Why not follow us on Instagram too!

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