Much ado about performance: new online course to explore staging of Shakespeare favourite

Registration is now open for a unique online course that will explore the staging of one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays.

Run by the University of Birmingham in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC) Education Department and the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, Much Ado About Nothing: in Performance will look at how the play would have been staged in Shakespeare’s time, how it has been interpreted in the 20th and 21st centuries, and how the 2014 RSC production of Much Ado About Nothing (Love’s Labour’s Won) brings the play to life for a modern audience.

The massive open online course (MOOC), which runs from 2-27 March 2015, is free and open to all, both in the UK and abroad. The course leader is Jacqui O’Hanlon, Director of RSC Education, and it is hosted on the FutureLearn platform. It is particularly suited to 16 to 19-year-olds in full-time education.

The areas of focus for the four weeks of the course will be:

  • Week 1: Dr Nick Walton from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust will discuss original performance conditions, looking at how Much Ado About Nothing would have been staged in Shakespeare’s time.
  • Week 2: Dr Abigail Rokison from the Shakespeare Institute at the University of Birmingham will look at the different ways in which the play has been interpreted throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.
  • Week 3: Christopher Luscombe, director of the RSC’s 2014 production of Much Ado About Nothing (Love’s Labour’s Won), will explore the role of the director in staging a modern production.
  • Week 4: RSC actors Michelle Terry and Edward Bennett, who play Beatrice and Benedick in the RSC’s 2014 production, will discuss their process as actors and how they bring the text to life for the stage.

The course will feature an exclusive range of video and audio content and is perfect for studying in the classroom, at home, or as part of a group. At the end of the course, participants will be encouraged to tune into the RSC Schools’ Broadcast of Much Ado About Nothing (Love’s Labour’s Won), which will take place on 30 April 2014.

Register for the Much Ado About Nothing: in Performance MOOC.

Register for the RSC Schools’ Broadcast of Much Ado About Nothing (Love’s Labour’s Won).

ENDS

For further information, please contact Stuart Gillespie in the University of Birmingham press office on +44 (0)121 414 9041. Out of hours, please call +44 (0)7789 921165 or email the press office.

Notes to editors

About RSC Education
RSC Education transforms experiences of Shakespeare for young people, sharing our wealth of skills and knowledge with teachers and students across the UK. We build long-term relationships with schools, teachers and communities across the UK – and particularly those who have the least access to Shakespeare, the RSC and cultural provision. Each year we reach over 400,000 young people and work with approximately 1,100 schools.

Our free Schools’ Broadcast series was launched in 2013, allowing schools up and down the country to stream current RSC productions directly into their classrooms. Giving hundreds and thousands of young people the opportunity to enjoy a world-class theatre production, over 45,000 primary and secondary-age students throughout the UK tuned in to watch our first three schools’ broadcasts.

For further information about RSC Education, please contact Jo Hammond on +44 (0)7739 330294.

About the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust is the independent charity that cares for the world’s greatest Shakespeare heritage sites in Stratford-upon-Avon and promotes the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare’s works, life and times all over the world. The charity runs award-winning formal and informal educational programmes for people of all ages. It holds the world’s largest Shakespeare-related museum and archives open free to the public, a collection which is designated as being of international importance. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust receives no public subsidy or direct revenue funding; it depends on income generated through the support of visitors, donors, volunteers and Friends. 

For media enquiries, please contact Alisan Cole, PR & Public Affairs Executive at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, on +44 (0)1789 207132.