Day 1 Teaching Shakespeare Through Performance 

At the end of the first day, my head was spinning, processing the wealth of information and activities that welcomed our group of twenty-five teachers.  Now, though, being day two, I’m a bit more able to reflect on it all.  

Monday morning we arrived at The Globe.  Although I’ve been to the south bank before to visit the Tate Modern, I hadn’t been here (which does seem odd given my propensity for visiting all literary sites).  We had a morning of introductions and some warm up exercises.  Fiona Banks, TSTP Course Director, set the tone well and had us engaged from the moment she said “hullo.”  Instead of writing out what we wanted from the course, we each drew a vision of what our classroom would look like as a result is having experienced TSTP.  While my drawing was just stunning (how many years of art school and I still am barely proficient in stick figures?) However, she also had us think about impediments to that vision.   My drawing (attempted) to depict a space of engagement through performance with students making decisions based on the text and their understanding rather than my dictating how scenes should be read.  With that in mind, my first thought of an impediment was the shy student. I need to continue to think of ways for all students to participate, but also think about the environment so that they feel comfortable taking risks and stepping out of their comfort zones.

Speaking of being out of one’s comfort zone…

That day we were immediately thrown into performance exercises, beginning to understand how performers understand space and think about movements.  It moved so quickly I hadn’t time to over analyze or be nervous.  There are both drama teachers and literature teachers in our group, and the drama teachers are definitely more outgoing, which is good because they set the tone and take the lead.  After seeing the Globe stage, it’s apparent that big gestures and movements are necessary so that you can reach all of the audience, while the other space we’ll be performing in is smaller and allows for a more subtle performance.  I’m looking forward to learning how to prepare and understand both.

This photo doesnt do it justice, but its the stage at the Globe
Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

It was a lot to take in the first day, so I went along the Thames to reflect and review Richard II 

North bank of the Thames and builiding, building, biuldong!

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