Shakespearean Learning Comes Alive with RSC Learning Residency

Alexander Tew
Senior School Head of Drama

Last week, DCB had the pleasure of hosting Lizzie Hopley, an actress and theatre practitioner from the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) Learning. The RSC Learning residency, part of the Worldwise Events programme, is an annual event, however, due to Covid restrictions this is the first time we have been able to host the residency in person since 2020. Through several workshops aimed at our Junior and Senior School students, Lizzie introduced RSC Learning's unique pedagogical techniques. The week was fast-paced and exciting from beginning to end! 

2022/2023 Worlwise Events poster

Year 6 students engaged in a practical workshop centred around 'The Tempest.' The session focused on exploring the character of Caliban and his interaction with the island's environment. It was well received by the students, who actively participated and responded well to the applied techniques. 

Year 9 students, who have been examining ways to modernize Shakespearean text, benefited from Lizzie's insights into the dynamics of power relationships. They were guided through a variety of techniques to portray the character differences effectively. 

RSC Learning workshop - Year 9

For Year 10, the focus was on understanding iambic pentameter and the rhythm of the Shakespearean language. The session culminated in the students performing a scene from Romeo and Juliet, during which they were challenged to utilise stage space optimally. 

RSC Learning workshop - Year 10

Finally, our Year 12 Theatre students had the opportunity to participate in various sessions aimed at extracting different intentions from Shakespearean texts. During over five distinct workshops with Lizzie, they were able to examine scenes from 'Macbeth' in considerable detail. Lizzie also used her own experience in the acting industry to offer invaluable tips about audition processes and students were able to practice their audition technique and receive feedback from a real expert. 

This week proved to be an invaluable opportunity for our students to be exposed to, and appreciate the rich depths of Shakespearean text, as seen through the lens of a professional from RSC Learning. Through Lizzie's exciting workshops, we witnessed a newfound enthusiasm amongst our students for theatre. It is our hope that these experiences have not only kindled a love for the art of acting, but also equipped them with a broader understanding and appreciation of the treasures of literature. We are very thankful to Lizzie and RSC Learning for such an incredible week of theatre!