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To be or not to be, David?

The Broadchurch star and RSC Associate has been answering your kids' lockdown queries on Shakespeare as part of the #RSCHomeworkHelp initiative - and we're all ears!

RSC actors and alumni including David Tennant, Paapa Essiedu, Niamh Cusack, Charlotte Arrowsmith and Noma Dumezweni have been giving up their time helping to answer students’ questions on Shakespeare while under lockdown.

Troilus-and-Cressida, 2018. Charlotte Arrowsmith, who is deaf, as Cassandra. Photo by-Helen Maybanks

The #RSCHomeworkHelp initiative has received hundreds of ingenious questions from young people studying Shakespeare from home during the pandemic. They range from ‘do you have any advice for performing on Zoom?’ ’ to ‘if Julius Caesar was a radio play, how would you stage the assassination scene?’. Full marks for that one!

RSC Associate Artist David Tennant responded to a question about his favourite Hamlet soliloquy (above); while Warwickshire-based Harry Potter star David Bradley, was asked how he first got into theatre.

Due to the success of the initiative #RSCHomeworkHelp will continue into the summer term and new questions can be sent from June 1 either by email to homeworkhelp@thersc.org.uk or via twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #RSCHomeworkHelp. The actors will then respond to the students’ questions through a mixture of written and video responses which will all shared on the RSC website.

See further #RSChomeworkhelp Q&As HERE.

GCSE and BBC Bitesize home-schooling support

Paapa-Essiedu as Hamlet, 2016. Photo-by-Manuel-Harlan

The Company has also launched a package of activity designed to help support GCSE students with their learning at home including a series of Activity Toolkits. But they’re suitable for all ages to unlock the plays’ language, themes, characters and plots.

Each one has fun, 15-minute activities that parents and young people can try themselves ranging from range from watching actors in rehearsal, recreating Duncan’s murder scene or making puppets, to recording voxpops, creating storyboards, arranging fight scenes or choreographing a dance for the Capulet’s Ball in Romeo and Juliet

The first RSC Activity Toolkits are now available for free on the RSC’s website focus on some of Shakespeare’s best-known plays, Romeo and JulietHamlet and Macbeth, plus OthelloMuch Ado About Nothing and The Merchant of Venice, which are all available to see on BBC iPlayer.

See the activity toolkits  here and watch actor Joseph Kloska working with the Macbeth text here.

  • BBC Bitesize: The RSC will deliver a further week of GCSE lesson plans themed around Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet as part of the BBC’s ongoing Bitesize programme on Mon 15 – Fri 19 June. There will be daily Shakespeare lessons for Year 10 students and special insights from RSC actors and directors about how to decode Shakespeare’s language and bring the plays to life for today’s audiences.
  • Culture in Quarantine. The RSC has also teamed up with the BBC as part of its ‘Culture in Quarantine’ programme. Six RSC productions (chosen to link to the school curriculum and supported by the Activity Toolkits) are now available to view for free on iPlayer: The plays include HamletMacbethMuch Ado About NothingOthelloRomeo and Juliet; and The Merchant of Venice.

Find more ideas here

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