Sunday, September 24, 2006

RSC taking a cue from Shakespeare & Co.

RSC on mission to improve teaching of Bard in schools

The Royal Shakespeare Company will launch a major campaign tomorrow to change the way Shakespeare is taught in schools and tackle the impression amongst young people that the playwright is boring.

Teaching Shakespeare - Time for Change calls for a more theatre-based approach to teaching the Bard, including giving every young person access to at least one live performance of a Shakespeare play during their school career.

A symposium will take place at the Swan Theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon to launch the campaign, while some of the country’s best known writers, politicians, actors and personalities have recounted their first experiences with Shakespeare to help highlight the cause.
Michael Parkinson recalls Shakespeare being regarded as "an obligation rather than a pleasure" at his grammar school, with no-one attempting to put the plays into context, while journalist Polly Toynbee describes the idea of teaching Shakespeare as a dry text without acting it as "not only deadly drudgery but wrong".

Actor and director Janet Suzman describes being smitten with Shakespeare thanks to a young English teacher who was "perfectly cast for Rosalind and knew it" and acted her way through the whole of As You Like It in class.

"Our teacher made us read aloud, which makes all the difference," she said. "You can’t do plays sitting down."

Hope you're all off to great starts this year!


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