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.

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.”

Shakespeare workshop in a school

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 pefrormances.

The brief was set for the students by the Royal Shakespeare Company

The Royal Shakespeare Company Workshop on Campus - Discovering Shakespeare

In November 2021, 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. 

RSC Kim 900

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

Leontes | Out of Joint | It Gets Lighter From Here

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.

folkman_s-tale_filthy-crow-ma-in-shakespeare-and-creativity-performance_2019_photo-by-sam-allard-_c_-rsc_282148-900x600Photo 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 blog posts from the different teams involved.

Viewer discretion advised

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.

The workshop in circular seating on the stage of the theatre

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. 

Two student performers on the stage. One wears black goggles.

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?

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.