The University of Birmingham is engaged in an exciting collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC). This pioneering project is the result of the longstanding relationship between the RSC and the University of Birmingham's Shakespeare Institute.
The collaboration is rooted in a vision of theatre as an engine room for creative thinking and research, a place for the exchange of artistic and academic knowledge and practice, and a shared commitment to enriching student experience and contemporary Shakespeare studies.
Through exploring the concept of ‘the radical’ our collaboration seeks to bring together theatre artists, scholars and students in creative experiments that stimulate connections between the arts, the academy and society at large. Our collaboration has already produced fascinating and innovative new research.
The Other Place Studio Theatre
The original theatre closed in 1989 [Credit: Joe Cocks Studio Collection/Shakespeare Birthplace Trust]
The Other Place Theatre reopened in 2016
The University of Birmingham is a Founding Partner in the RSC’s The Other Place. Opened in 2016, to coincide with the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, The Other Place is a creative hub for rehearsal, training, learning and research. The iconic RSC studio theatre is a space for the development, rehearsal and showcasing of experimental modern theatre in the spirit of ‘radical mischief,’ a spirit of play, enthusiasm, fearlessness, and intelligence.
At the heart of our collaboration with the RSC, is the vision to redefine the relationship between academic work and artistic practice, and to support the long-term development of the spirit, influence and authority of The Other Place as a centre for creative and academic exchange.
Where theatre meets the classroom
We believe the knowledge exchange between the University of Birmingham, as the first civic university in the country, and the RSC, one of the world’s leading theatre companies, can provide unparalleled opportunities for our students and staff.
From the outset of our collaboration, University of Birmingham students have benefitted from input from RSC artists and practitioners on a variety of undergraduate and postgraduate courses at our Edgbaston campus, as well as at our base in Stratford-upon-Avon, the Shakespeare Institute. Students also have had the opportunity to access creative and teaching spaces at The Other Place.
Since its launch, the collaboration has enhanced the student experience in a number of ways:
- Both the MA Shakespeare and Creativity and MA Shakespeare and Education courses have been enhanced by the Shakespeare Institute’s collaboration with the RSC offering unique and extensive opportunities to work with RSC artists.
- Through the BA English with Shakespeare course, students have accessed unparalleled resources for studying Shakespeare and benefitted from the expertise of academics at the Shakespeare Institute and our links with the RSC.
- Students and staff have participated in a variety of professional research and development workshops in The Other Place since it reopened in 2016 and contributed to a range of collaborative research projects.
- Across the University of Birmingham, students have accessed specially programmed workshops, courses and events at The Other Place, featuring input from RSC artists and practitioners, and visited RSC shows.
Michael Dobson, Director of the Shakespeare Institute
“ One reason the University of Birmingham established its Shakespeare Institute in 1951 was so that it could benefit from the presence of a great classical theatre company and contribute to that company’s work,’ he explains. ‘More than 60 years on, we are thrilled that this collaboration, centred on the RSC’s ideas department, The Other Place, has been recreated in a form that will bring renewed creativity to the theatre and to the academy alike. ”
Professor Ewan Fernie, Chair of Shakespeare Studies
“ We at the Shakespeare Institute share the RSC’s passion for making The Other Place a driver for alternative ways of doing Shakespeare and contemporary art, and we are passionate about sharing that with our students as well. Everyone involved with this project is keen for The Other Place to be a unique hub for creative and academic exchange that will make a fresh and lasting contribution to cultural life in the UK and beyond ”