Learning Report 2011
National Education & Youth Partner
Romeo And Juliet 2 LEARNING REPORT 2011
LEARNING REPORT 2011 3
Learning 2011 was a year of new experiences for Bell Shakespeare Learning. We launched a new delivery model for the Learning programme – utilising The Players, our new troupe of eight full-time actors, who also starred in Bell Shakespeare’s first schools-dedicated production of Romeo And Juliet. Having traditionally employed 12 actors across three Actors At Work teams, as well as a separate group of talented Arts Educators, Bell Shakespeare sought to build more sustainability and serviceability into a touring programme so relied upon by teachers and students in far-flung areas of Australia’s vast geography. In 2011 we employed eight talented actors with Arts Educator experience, able not only to perform, but also to deliver Student and Teacher Masterclasses as they toured the country for a full year. This new model provided us with the creativity and opportunity to take risks with what Bell Shakespeare could achieve for young audiences.
Actors At Work After the Sydney season of Romeo And Juliet, The Players began their national tour to schools around the country. Actors At Work, the lynchpin of the touring programme, remained a firm favourite with schools seeking to introduce their students to performance and Shakespeare.
Romeo And Juliet Romeo And Juliet toured to Sydney’s Seymour Centre, Chippendale, in March and Melbourne’s National Theatre, St Kilda, in August, and over the two seasons, performed to 16,725 students.
The 2011 offering included two productions: a revamped Macbeth Intensive and a new show especially written for 2011 – Midsummer Madness – bringing to life, for younger audiences, one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays.
Shakespeare’s classic was presented in a fast-paced, visually vibrant production, with a distinctly Australian flavour. Director Damien Ryan transported Verona to a small, isolated, drought-ridden community, with Romeo and Juliet’s story played out amongst the red dirt of the land.
49,725 students saw an Actors At Work performance in 2011. For the first time, Bell Shakespeare also offered a two-hour activity exclusively for primary schools in Sydney, Perth and Melbourne, using Midsummer Madness as an introduction to Shakespeare. With fairies, magic and comedy at the heart of the story, primary students discovered the world of Shakespeare’s language and characters while having fun during a pre-show masterclass.
Damien, in his approach to the production, said that he “became attached to several images, one of which was the sense of what it’s like for young people in a world where they don’t have much access, either to experience or to change, or to sources of imaginative stimulation”.
The production was immensely popular, receiving excellent reviews and feedback from students, teachers and the media. As a result, the production will be remounted in 2012, with a fourweek season at Sydney Opera House in May, and a return season at the National Theatre, St Kilda, in July.
“It was entertaining, engaging and thoroughly enjoyable. The actors were captivating for those students who hadn’t been exposed to Shakespeare before and provided greater depth to the texts for those who had. It was fantastic.”
“Romeo And Juliet is a blast for teenagers and adults alike ... Entertaining, loud, energetic, colourful.” SUN HERALD
Nathaniel Middleton 4 LEARNING REPORT 2011
Romeo And Juliet
Jody Nicholas, Xavier Catholic College, QLD LEARNING REPORT 2011 5
The Hamlet Seminar
As The Players made their way around the country in two teams, they also delivered 212 Student Masterclasses to 8,689 students on no less than 17 different topics.
Following its inaugural success in 2010, Bell Shakespeare repeated The Hamlet Seminar, a half-day forum designed especially for HSC and VCE students in the lead-up to their final exams in 2011. The seminar, delivered to an audience of 476 students, was held during the school holidays in the York Theatre at the Seymour Centre in Chippendale, Sydney, and at the National Theatre in St Kilda, Melbourne.
At the conclusion of their tour, Bell Shakespeare’s Players visited schools in remote or regional locations of Australia in pairs, for one- and two-week-long residency programmes.
These two-hour workshops were hugely popular in 2011, as regional locations found The Players able to meet their individual learning needs outside of the Actors At Work format. The actors were able to ignite students’ interest in Shakespeare’s language, characters and plots and inspire an appreciation and passion for his work through text-based practical activities.
The seminar (offered twice on one day in Sydney, and once in Melbourne) blended live performance by The Players with an interactive seminar session delivered by Resident Artist in Education, James Evans. A 90-minute practical masterclass was offered as a supplementary workshop on the day to students wishing to experience more than the seminar and performance programme. Held at a critical time in senior students’ education – the lead-up to the Year 12 exams – The Hamlet Seminar offered an innovative way to get inside Hamlet’s skull.
Under the artistic leadership of the Resident Artist in Education, James Evans, Bell Shakespeare’s Players and other Arts Educators made direct contact with the class teacher several weeks prior to each workshop. Masterclasses were then tailored in consultation with the English or Drama teacher as to the curriculum needs of the students, ensuring that the material covered was of the greatest use and stimulus to the students.
“Students engaged and discovered insight and depth into Shakespeare’s writing style, language and influence. From the very beginning to the end of the masterclass, everyone was involved, laughing, team building and enjoying Shakespeare! What an experience!” Julie Lovell, Victory Christian College, VIC 6 LEARNING REPORT 2011
Teacher Professional Learning Teacher Masterclasses were presented in each state and territory to 254 teachers. In 2011 this included a new Masterclass titled Staging Shakespeare: A Teacher’s Guide, presented in Geelong VIC, Canberra ACT, Perth WA, Launceston TAS, Newcastle NSW, Mt Gambier SA, Townsville QLD, Darwin NT and Sydney NSW. The all-day workshop prepared teachers for directing their own Shakespeare play in their school, covering everything including the rehearsal process, creative direction, how to audition student actors, developing a set design and, most of all, how to be a great director. This Masterclass was also very popular with community theatre practitioners and directors looking to demystify Shakespeare for their very diverse audiences.
Teacher Forums were presented to 99 teachers in each state and territory, as we sought to prepare teachers for the incoming Australian Curriculum, with an all-day forum titled Shakespeare in the National English Curriculum. Teacher Forums were held in Sydney and Campbelltown NSW, Caboolture QLD, Bendigo VIC, Mt Barker SA, Hobart TAS, Canberra ACT, Rockingham WA and Darwin NT. This session included an introduction to planning for the new curriculum and the relevant timelines as they relate to teachers, as well as a sample unit designed to meet all of the element codes for the English Curriculum in Year 7, using A Midsummer Night’s Dream as a sample text. Teachers responded well to this unit, feeling much more at ease about the changing education landscape that is approaching, after Bell Shakespeare unpacked the curriculum easily using just one Shakespeare text.
Residencies allow us to spend a longer period of time in one community, using multiple masterclasses to coach teachers and students in performing and understanding Shakespeare. The extended period enables us to build professional capacity in the teachers and positive self-esteem and confidence in the students. In 2011, the Remote and Regional Residency Programme included Broome WA, Mount Isa QLD, Far West NSW, Port Augusta SA, Katherine NT, Mudgee NSW and Batchelor NT. A total of 2,402 students benefitted from the residency programme this year.
The Players liaised with relevant teachers and community leaders in advance of the residency to establish a mutual understanding of aims and aspirations for the programme. Plays and activities were then carefully selected and structured to suit the agreed needs of each location. The activities undertaken led participants into the world of Shakespeare’s plays and gave them the opportunity to explore drama, performance and storytelling in a practical and entertaining programme, unique to each locality. The residencies in Batchelor NT and Far West NSW included four of The Players, which enabled Actors At Work performances as well as Student Masterclasses.
“From a teacher’s viewpoint – a godsend! My students all spoke glowingly of the session. They all indicated how much help this would be as they revisit the text before the trial HSC.” Mark Taylor, St Edward’s College, NSW
The rest of the day involved a series of practical activities that brought Shakespeare to life in the classroom, and an explanation of exactly where each activity would fit into the new Australian English Curriculum. LEARNING REPORT 2011 7
Other Regional Programmes
Bell Shakespeare’s Regional Access Workshop programme is designed to maximise a community’s experience of a Bell Shakespeare production. In addition, the programme seeks to strengthen a regional theatre’s relationship with local schools by providing the theatre with practical ways of engaging youth as part of ongoing audience development.
Bell Shakespeare’s commitment to regional Australia continued in 2011 through the regional scholarship programme for both students and teachers.
In 2011, Bell Shakespeare provided an Arts Educator free of charge to regional venues ahead of the national tour of Julius Caesar, reaching 844 students around Australia. Arts Educators delivered free interactive student workshops in the weeks leading up to the production arriving at the local theatre, exploring live performance, the production’s design concepts, the ways in which the script might be interpreted and the play’s language and themes.
“It is such a wonderful way for students to be given some outside direction in the craft of acting, whilst building their confidence. It’s nice to have someone keeping Shakespeare alive in the regions.”
The Regional Performance Scholarship (RPS) provides a unique opportunity for young people in regional areas interested in exploring the performing arts as a career choice. 2011 heralded the eleventh year of the ever-popular scholarship – a programme with multiple benefits for all participants, including the many students around Australia who audition for the scholarship and the three resulting winners. To be eligible, students had to be at high school full-time in a regional location in 2011 and be at least 16 years of age by 31 December. RPS auditions took the form of 15-minute one-on-one masterclasses with a Bell Shakespeare Arts Educator, where students performed one of a predetermined shortlist of monologues.
In 2011, 137 students auditioned for the RPS, across all states and territories. The three winners selected in 2011 were Sorcha Harrop from Armidale High School in Armidale, NSW, Ava Campbell from Newstead College in Riverside, TAS and Antonio Robin from Casuarina Senior College in Darwin, NT. In her final callback, Sorcha gave us a very funny Phebe from As You Like It, Ava performed a fiery, dramatic Constance from King John and Antonio gave us a truthful and vulnerable Enobarbus from Antony And Cleopatra. In February 2012, Sorcha, Ava and Antonio will travel to Sydney for one week of intensive masterclasses with Bell Shakespeare, each using their monologues as catalysts to further explore their performance technique. They will have time in the rehearsal room with the cast of Macbeth as they prepare for the 2012 season, tour the Sydney Opera House, perform their monologues for Director Peter Evans and the cast, and see the inner workings of Bell Shakespeare.
Annually, the RTS allows 12 early career teachers in regional and remote areas to expand their awareness of how to teach Shakespeare, taking back to their community practical skills and knowledge in teaching Drama and English. In 2011, 33 teachers applied for the scholarship. The winning teachers came from seven states and included Bernadette Young from Warren NSW; Cynthia Hendriks from Albury NSW; Jennifer Watts from Katherine NT; Kara Holdom from Rosebery NT; Beth O’Shannessy from Theodore QLD; Leanne Perna from Clermont QLD; Veronica Hartnett from Mintabie SA; Justan Wagner from Burnie TAS; Christina Lloyd from Sea Lake VIC; Shelley Nodwell from Geraldton WA; Rani Middleton from Broome WA and Ben Machowiak from Albany WA. With all accommodation, travel and Professional Development covered by the scholarship, the four-day experience included a welcome breakfast, a history of Shakespeare, an introduction to teaching Shakespeare, practical explorations of Julius Caesar and Much Ado About Nothing, and advanced exercises and activities on teaching Shakespeare and engaging students in the classroom. Teachers also spent a day looking closer at curriculum and how to address the upcoming Australian Curriculum, and attended a performance of Much Ado About Nothing at the Sydney Opera House.
Tracey Bell, Marketing and Education Officer, Wagga Wagga Civic Theatre, NSW
2010 Regional Performance Scholarship winners: Lucy Heffernan (Wollongong NSW), Jordan Wong (Orange NSW), Stephanie Morrell (Ballarat VIC) 8 LEARNING REPORT 2011
Since the Regional Teacher Scholarship (RTS) began in 2007, Bell Shakespeare now counts 60 teachers among the alumni who have each travelled to Sydney for four days and gained valuable Professional Learning in the Bell Shakespeare rehearsal room. These teachers are now Bell Shakespeare advocates, working in the regional teaching community, inspiring their students to see learning about Shakespeare as practical, enjoyable and rewarding.
Apart from the Professional Development gained from the experience, the RTS provides a rare and remarkable opportunity for early career teachers to network with new colleagues and share their challenges and successes – connections that remain long after the Sydney weekend concludes.
Juvenile Justice Programmes
Bell Shakespeare Learning participated in TheatreSpace, a collaborative project with 12 other arts organisations and three universities.
In 2011, Bell Shakespeare conducted a second residency programme in a Juvenile Justice Centre. Having already delivered a very successful programme in 2010 at Juniperina Juvenile Justice Centre for 12 female detainees, Bell Shakespeare delivered a similar programme for male detainees at Frank Baxter Juvenile Justice Centre.
TheatreSpace commenced in 2008 and is a four-year, $3.3 million research project investigating how young people (aged 14 to 30) choose to engage or not engage with theatre in NSW, QLD and VIC. The research combines the efforts of research staff at Melbourne, Sydney and Griffith Universities and 13 arts industry partners. The research comprises two parts: case study research and longitudinal analysis, and involved two of Bell Shakespeare’s productions: Anatomy Titus Fall of Rome: A Shakespeare Commentary in 2008 and King Lear in 2010. The preliminary results, released in November 2011, confirmed a lot of what we already know and appreciate about our young audiences. What the results also highlighted is the valuable role that schools play in providing access to theatre for youth from multicultural backgrounds, and the valuable role that teachers play in framing a young person’s experience of the theatre. The results also confirmed the vital role that Bell Shakespeare already plays in supporting teachers to better prepare students for the study of Shakespeare through Professional Development and online resources.
The programme focused on Macbeth and included an Actors At Work performance of Macbeth Intensive by The Players, a series of masterclasses conducted by Resident Artist in Education James Evans and Arts Educator Matt Edgerton over a five-week period. The programme was hugely successful and feedback from the boys was profound as to the effect that the experience had on them. They wrote positively about the effect that James and Matt had personally had on them, and acknowledged the dynamic created during the residency.
“I have acquired essential skills which will definitely help me with my life. The class has had an optimistic influence on my life too, helping me express myself and not being shy. All of these skills that I have acquired were not with me before.” Participant, Frank Baxter Juvenile Justice Centre Programme LEARNING REPORT 2011 9
Access programmes for disadvantaged schools One of Bell Shakespeare’s goals is to continue to make live performance of Shakespeare available to all students in Australia. In keeping with this, subsidised, discounted or free of charge performances and learning programmes are made available to some schools disadvantaged by minimal numbers of students, geographic isolation and low socio-economic demography. Opportunities for these students are made possible through the generous and ongoing support of corporate partners, philanthropic trusts and foundations, and individual donors. In 2011 11,772 students from 125 schools benefited from the generosity of such support, and with the introduction of the new Players format, a wider variety of programmes was available to schools, better meeting the learning needs of the students. Programmes included free Actors At Work performances, Student Masterclasses, tickets to see Romeo And Juliet, and our mainstage productions through our Hearts In A Row programme.
“I liked when the two families got together because of the love between their son and daughter. They recognized that love can only make peace.” Naimatulah, Student, Collingwood English Language School, VIC
10 LEARNING REPORT 2011
Bell Shakespeare seeks to assist both teachers and the general public to get the most out of their experience of live theatre by providing Online Learning Packs for each of its mainstage productions and Actors At Work programmes.
Such a successful year could not be achieved without the support of our many partners, who share our enthusiasm for engaging students and teachers with quality Shakespeare experiences. Bell Shakespeare highly values its partnerships with all the organisations that supported our education programmes in 2011 including Optus; BHP Billiton; J.P. Morgan; Australian Unity; AUSTAR; Wesfarmers Arts; Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation; Pratt Foundation; Ian Potter Foundation; Macquarie Group Foundation; IOOF Foundation; Scully Fund; James N. Kirby Foundation; The Trust Company ATF Archer; Collier Charitable Fund; Besen Family Foundation; Australia Council for the Arts; Playing Australia; Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations; Arts NSW; Arts SA; NSW Department of Education and Training; NSW Department of Juvenile Justice; Arts QLD; and ACT Department of Education and Training.
In 2011, this included kits for Romeo And Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, Faustus, Julius Caesar, Macbeth Intensive and Midsummer Madness. Each resource includes a synopsis and background of the play, an overview of the characters, concerns and themes, and the set and costume design elements of the production. The Teachers’ Online Learning Pack also includes activities and resources for use in lessons before and after their students’ Bell Shakespeare experience. In 2011, and for the first time, Bell Shakespeare provided two live online Q & A events directly after evening performances of Much Ado About Nothing (19 April 2011) and Julius Caesar (1 November 2011). These events were promoted to students and teachers. Twitter feeds for both events revealed a very excited and engaged audience, keen for more online interactivity in the future. The Players also joined the online community in 2011 with their blog, Meet The Players (bellshakespeare.com.au/ meettheplayers), which enabled each of the eight Players to share their tales and adventures with students and teachers around the country. This, as well as The Players’ facebook page, received many comments from young people, keen to continue the dialogue long after The Players had departed their community.
The support of these organisations enables our popular education initiatives to continue and expand, and assists us in maintaining affordable ticket prices and access to valuable Learning opportunities in metropolitan, regional and remote locations across Australia. With such a jam-packed and creative year behind us, 2012 promises a year where Bell Shakespeare can further explore the potential of The Players model as we continue to bring Shakespeare to life for young people in theatres and classrooms throughout the country.
ACTORS AT WORK Schools Performances Students
METRO REGIONAL 177 112 243 150 31,400 18,325
TOTAL 289 393 49,725
STUDENT MASTERCLASSES Schools Performances Students
METRO REGIONAL 71 46 139 73 6,122 2,567
TOTAL 117 212 8,689
SCHOOL MATINEES TOTAL Much Ado About Nothing 2,082 Faustus 114 Julius Caesar 2,917 TOTAL 5,113 ROMEO AND JULIET METRO REGIONAL Sydney Schools 93 33 Sydney Students 9,364 2,276 Melbourne Schools 68 36 Melbourne Students 3,702 1,383 Total Schools Total Students
TOTAL 126 11,640 104 5,085 230 16,725
THE HAMLET SEMINAR STUDENTS Sydney 372 Melbourne 104 TOTAL 476
PROFESSIONAL LEARNING Teacher Forums Teacher Masterclasses Regional Teacher Scholarship TOTAL
Schools Metro teachers 60 41 152 109 12 0 224 150
Regional teachers 58 145 12 215
Total 99 254 12 365
RESIDENCY PROGRAMME TOTAL Schools 17 Masterclasses 176 Students 2,402
TOTAL Bell Shakespeare Learning unique page views 69,062 Online Learning Pack downloads 5,895 Social Media Community 1,579 TOTAL 76,536
REGIONAL ACCESS WORKSHOPS TOTAL Workshops 27 Schools 35 Students 844 REGIONAL PERFORMANCE SCHOLARSHIP AUDITIONS TOTAL Schools 59 Students 137
summary TOTAL TEACHERS TOTAL STUDENTS TOTAL FACE TO FACE AUDIENCE TOTAL ONLINE AUDIENCE
346 84,111 84,476 76,536 LEARNING REPORT 2011 11
Level 1, 33 Playfair Street The Rocks Sydney, Australia PO Box 10 Millers Point NSW 2000 telephone: +61 2 8298 9000 facsimile: +61 2 9241 4643 firstname.lastname@example.org bellshakespeare.com.au/learning 12 LEARNING REPORT 2011