Our plan is to provide and run workshops in schools, community and other centres in the York area to give an
insight into Shakespeare in particular and drama in general and also to have some fun.
We have taken free workshops to day care centres for adults with learning difficulties;
day care centres for mental health; secondary schools; a referral unit for excluded students,
a GCSE study centre, general workshop and the Black Swan pub on Peasholme Green.
The workshops share a common aim of making Shakespeare accessible and enjoyable and encourage participation.
They vary according to the needs and interest of the groups.
A workshop with adults with special needs explored the drama of Romeo and Juliet
through costumes and props with the participants given short lines of text to act out the characters.
A school workshop on the other hand will concentrate on the language to
highlight how physical it is and how it gives insight into the characters and direction of the drama.
"I never knew Shakespeare had such a sense of humour"
Taming of the Shrew Workshop
We want to extend this programme to reach more schools and day care centres and reach other
parts of the community such as residential homes for the elderly, youth projects and educational ventures.
Many of the workshops have been run by Amanda Strevett Smith who has worked with schools
in Leeds as a drama teacher specialising in Shakespeare and has been a drama therapist for seven years.
The workshops have been funded from grants given in particular by Awards for All,
York Challenge Trust, Joseph Rowntree Foundation and the trustees of St Michael's Church.
Achievements so far:
October 2001: Weekend workshops for the national Family Learning Weekend.
This was poorly attended and made us realise we had to go out to people rather than expect them to come to us.
March 2002: Day workshop at the Brunswick Organic Nursery, a sheltered workshop for adults with special needs.
This successful event was based around the Pyramus and Thisbe scene from A Midsummer Night's Dream and run by Effie Arestides.
May 2002: An hour workshop at the Driveway, Bootham Hospital, with adults recovering from mental health problems.
This was run by Frank Brogan, the project founder, and Lee Maloney, the project's production coordinator.
October 2002: Amanda Strevett Smith ran an afternoon workshop for World Mental Health Day at
Sycamore House based round various Shakespeare characters. There was also an afternoon workshop at Tang Hall
community centre for adults with special needs.
November 2002: Three workshops with GCSE students at the Stables,
a community based study centre attended by school leavers and adults.
December 2002: Two workshops with 13-year-old pupils at the Pupil Referral Unit,
a project for excluded and disaffected secondary school pupils. Also a Shakespeare masterclass at Oaklands School working on a GCSE text.
January 2003: A workshop at Brunswick Organic Nursery with a different group from the March 2002
workshop and exploring the loves and conflicts of Romeo and Juliet.
January 2003: An open workshop at Southlands Methodist Church run with the production team for
The Taming of the Shrew to give people an insight before auditions for the show.
More than 20 people attended and were split into groups led by Amanda Strevett Smith,
Paul Toy, the director of The Taming of the Shrew and Lee Maloney.
Several people went on to attend the auditions and get parts.
February 2003: Two workshops for 13-year-olds at Burnholme Community College, York, using specific texts from Macbeth.
April 2006: A Midsummer Night's Dream workshop run by director Mark France, concentrating on verse speaking in Shakespeare.
October 2006: An evening of scenes from Shakespeare played out for a group of visiting Norwegian students.
July 2007: Workshop held at Canon Lee Specialist Arts College by director Mark France,
and members of the cast of Henry VI, to aid understanding of the text focusing on the Jack Cade scenes.
Anyone who wants to get involved should get in touch.