The collaboration has offered students the chance to develop a deeper understanding of an internationally renowned theatre company whilst blending academia and creativity. See how our students have benefited from numerous events and activities below.
Creating Ophelia’s Frost Faire – An Interactive Exhibition
.As part of the MA Shakespeare and Creativity course, students had the opportunity to create a public event to explore how Shakespeare’s work could be used to address climate change and inspire positive change.
MA Shakespeare and Creativity student Emma Moules has written about organising this project, the support they receieved from the RSC and her experience at the event.
Read Emma's student blog about the experience.
Seminar with The Empress Director
Students at the Shakespeare Institute have the opportunity to join weekly seminars with experts on Shakespeare and theatre. Recently, Layla Madanat talked about her experience as assistant director for the RSC show The Empress.
MA Shakespeare and Creativity student Diana Green has written about what she learnt from this session.
Read Diana's student blog about the experience.
Experiencing a theatre set changeover at the RSC
i.Students at the Shakespeare Institute had the opportunity to see a set changeover between the productions of Cowbois and The Empress at the Royal Shakespeare Company Theatre.
Student Catherine Farrell said "We were able to watch backstage secrets unfold before our very eyes. Overall, this unique opportunity is something very few members of the public are able to witness and as a creative and theatre maker first, it is something I won’t forget"
Read Catherine's student blog about the experience.
Building an Ensemble workshop with the RSC
As part of the MA Shakespeare and Creativity course, students had the opportunity to take part in a Royal Shakespeare Company ensemble-building workshop led by actor and practitioner Yasmin Taheri.
This workshop focussed on building an ensemble, using exercises from Romeo and Juliet, The Tempest, and Macbeth.
Student Rachel Stevenson said "As we gathered for our final reflection, I was struck by the trust and joy radiating throughout the room. This workshop taught me the creative value of play and helped our ensemble to become a space where we can do so constructively and unapologetically"
Read Rachel's student blog about the workshop.
Spring into Shakespeare students take part in sessions with RSC experts
Students on the Spring into Shakespeare short course had the opportunity to take part in a series of Q&A sessions with Royal Shakespeare Company practitioners.
The first session was with Alex Waldmann, who played Brutus in the RSC’s 2017 production of Julius Caesar. He discussed a range of issues, including how he worked with the director and how he prepares for performances.
The second session was with Eleanor Rhode, who directed the RSC’s 2019 production of King John.
Read what the students said about their experience at these sessions.
MA Shakespeare and Creativity students look to inspire next generation with Shakespeare
MA Shakespeare and Creativity students from the Shakespeare Institute delivered a workshop to local Stratford school children as part of their postgraduate Shakespeare in Society module.
Taught in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), 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, students on the MA programme delivered two workshops for children at Holy Trinity C of E Primary School, in Stratford-upon-Avon.
The workshops were fully interactive experiences for the children, who were encouraged to explore Shakespeare characters, from the villain to the dreamer, through movement and crafts.
Sally Delbeke, Partnerships Manager at the University of Birmingham, said: “The Shakespeare and Society module is a unique opportunity for students to take Shakespeare out into the community. This year’s project was a great example of how Shakespeare can engage all ages.
“It also gave our MA students an opportunity to work closely with the RSC, whose staff, and associated artists, supported the students throughout the devising process. 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 RSC.”
MA students perform to crowds in Stratford-upon-Avon
In December 2021, MA Shakespeare and Creativity students performed to the public in Stratford-upon-Avon as part of their Shakespeare in Society Module.
Taught in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the 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’. 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 performances.
- Read more about the performances and project
The Royal Shakespeare Company Workshop on Campus - Discovering Shakespeare
BA English students were joined by RSC Director Kimberley Sykes and her colleague Tom King for a practical Shakespeare workshop as part of the commitment to enriching student experience.
The full day workshop was organised as part of our popular ‘Discovering Shakespeare’ module, which runs with support from our collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
- Read more about the workshop
It gets lighter from here
#ItGetsLighterFromHere is a West Midlands Culture Response Unit initiative, bringing together organisations from across the region to mark the shortest day of the year; a virtual day of hope and positivity.
Students from the University of Birmingham worked with the RSC, and actor and playwright Tyrone Huggins, to create a series of short one minute films for #ItGetsLighterFromHere on 21 December 2020. Their work is based on The Comedy of Errors and The Winter's Tale and the pieces are titled 'Out of Joint' and 'Stop. Breathe. Listen. See - Value'.
You can read the students' introductions to their work and view the films on the RSC's website.
University of Birmingham Students Perform Two New Plays
Shakespeare and Creativity MA students from the Shakespeare Institute performed two new plays at The Other Place studio theatre.
As part of their Shakespeare and Creativity MA, students from the University of Birmingham have presented two new plays in response to Shakespeare in 2019.
This Filthy Crow explores Shakespeare's neglected female characters, following three witches on a journey of self-discovery. In The Folkman's Tale, a coffee shop owner has to make a choice between her father's folk legacy or embracing the takeover the disco.
Photo by Sam Allard © (RSC)
Fury: MA in Shakespeare and Creativity Ensemble
Fury is a piece of work devised, produced and performed by students on the MA in Shakespeare and Creativity programme.
A series of monologues based on characters from Shakespeare, but translated into a modern context. Fury has been developed in the midst of the pandemic, by an ensemble writing, directing and performing in-person and remotely.
You can also find out more about their experiences of forming an ensemble in these unprecedented times with a series of blogposts from the different teams involved.
Deadpool Shakespeare and Klingon Hamlet
One of the most common phrases you’re likely to hear when Shakespeare crops up in a discussion is: “his work is still so relevant to a contemporary audience”.
In January 2020 and our undergraduate English students studying on the ‘Discovering Shakespeare’ module spent the day in Stratford-upon-Avon finding out why.
Shakespeare Institute at the Hay Festival: Signing Shakespeare
Over the past two years, the ‘Signing Shakespeare’ project (born out of the collaboration between University of Birmingham and the RSC) has worked with D/deaf theatre practitioners and teachers of the D/deaf to tackle the problem of access to Shakespeare for young D/deaf students.
Abigail Rokison-Woodall (project lead), is joined by Tracy Irish (RSC), Angie Wootten (UoB) and Charlotte Arrowsmith (actor) to discuss the projects aims and methods and showcase the films at the online 2021 Hay Festival of Literature and the Arts.
What We May Be
In December 2019, students on the Shakespeare Institute's MA Shakespeare and Creativity collaborated with the Royal Shakespeare Company to present an original civic work.
'What We May Be' was a unique, immersive and interactive art exhibition, centered around a catwalk runway. As the public audience weaved around the gallery, they met and interacted with some of Shakespeare’s most famous and infamous identities.
- Read more about the exhibition
Week long workshop with RSC Director Iqbal Khan
In 2019, students studying at the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon had the opportunity to take part in a unique MA Research Week.
Students had the chance to work with RSC Director, Iqbal Khan, to explore the provocation “What is a modern History Play?”
The workshop, which ran during the Spring Reading week, explored themes such as why do we write historical plays?; who buys the tickets and why?; which stories are richest?; what characters attract us and whose/what perspective do we take?
- Read more about the research week
Two days with the RSC! Movement and choreography in Shakespearean theatre
Undergraduate students from the University of Birmingham's Drama department spent two days in Stratford-upon-Avon on a workshop at the RSC with Movement Director Tom Jackson Greaves.
The students learned movement and dance taken from the RSC's 'King John' performance, which is a production Tom had worked on. Students had the opportunity to see how something can be built in the rehearsal room and then put in to practice on the stage.