Some of the leading lights of the Royal Shakespeare Company are lending their skills to help youngsters with their homework.
The #RSCHomeworkHelp scheme has received hundreds of questions from young people studying Shakespeare in the UK and around the world.
Questions range from ‘do you have any advice for performing on Zoom?’ and ‘how would you update the servants in Romeo and Juliet?’ to ‘if Julius Caesar was a radio play, how would you stage the assassination scene?’ and ‘Which sister is worse, Goneril or Regan?’.
RSC actors and alumni have been helping to answer the questions including David Tennant, who responded to a question about his favourite Hamlet soliloquy.
Performers such as David Bradley, Paapa Essiedu, Niamh Cusack, Charlotte Arrowsmith and Noma Dumezweni have also offered homework help to students. The actors, who are currently unable to rehearse or perform, have volunteered to share their tips and answer questions about Shakespeare and drama studies whilst under lockdown.
Due to the success of the scheme, #RSCHomeworkHelp will continue into the summer term and new questions can be sent either by email to [email protected] or via twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #RSCHomeworkHelp.
The actors will then respond to the students’ questions through a mixture of written and video responses which will all be shared on the RSC website.
The RSC has also launched a range of activities to help support young people with their learning at home including a series of ‘activity toolkits’ to help learners unlock Shakespeare. The toolkits help those new to Shakespeare or young people looking for ways to extend their GCSE learning. They are suitable for all ages to unlock the plays’ language, themes, characters and plots.
Each toolkit contains 20 activities lasting 15 minutes each which range from watching actors in rehearsal, recreating Duncan’s murder scene or making puppets, to recording vox pops, creating storyboards, arranging fight scenes or choreographing a dance for the Capulet’s Ball in Romeo and Juliet.
The first toolkits are now available for free on the RSC’s website and focus on some of Shakespeare’s best-known plays, Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet and Macbeth, plus Othello, Much Ado About Nothing and The Merchant of Venice, which are all available to see on BBC iPlayer.
The RSC will provide further week of GCSE lesson plans themed around Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet as part of the BBC’s ongoing Bitesize programme. The week starts on Monday June 15 – Friday 19.
There will be daily Shakespeare lessons for Year 10 students and special insights from RSC actors and directors about how to decode Shakespeare’s language and bring the plays to life for today’s audiences.In addition, the RSC’s YouTube channel contains a selection of educational videos.
Visit rsc.org.uk/education for details of all that is available.