Taught in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Shakespeare in Society module is designed to help students explore how they can bring Shakespeare into the world beyond the academy and the theatre.
This year, the students project was called ‘Shakespeare All Around Us’. It aimed to pick up where the Bard [Shakespeare] left off, telling the stories that he left out, stories both magic and mundane, your stories and Stratford's stories.
On a rainy Saturday afternoon, student performers guided the public on a walk through Bancroft Gardens pointing out stories and history that many may have missed or forgotten about through a series of intimate theatrical peformances.
RSC Guest Artist, Francesca Millican-Slater worked with the students on the project throughout the Autumn Semester and commented “It’s really interesting to work with students doing the MA because they're so productive and so enthusiastic.
"I've really been interested in their ideas and what they've come up with as well. I kind of feel like I’m more part of the company than coming in as a visiting artist!”
MA Shakespeare and Creativity student, Kate Boleyn says working with Fran was a real bonus “Working with Fran has been really useful because of her experience of acting outdoors which is very different.
“She's really good at making us all be a group because a few of us aren't actors and a few of us are, and we're used to working on our own as well, so she's bringing us all together as a group which is really nice.”
The brief was set for the students by the RSC and Paige Calvert explained what route they decided to take “We decided to kind of take it in to the light of how do we take Shakespeare’s works and all of the attention that he brings to the town and focus it back on the town and uncover some of that history that a lot of people don't know is here.
“One way that we're doing that is turning Shakespeare on its head and taking things that maybe tourists usually come to the RSC or Bancroft gardens and see, like these sort of icons like the river, the beautiful swamp theatre and showing them that there are secrets hidden and there's a history behind the town that is just as important as the Shakespeare that's right in front of us.”
This module is just one of the many ways our students at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon benefit from our collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company. You can find out more about other projects our students have been involved in over on our collaboration webpages.