Our plan is to run workshops in the York area to give an insight into drama in general and Shakespeare in particular and of course to have some fun!

We have taken free workshops to schools, day care centres, a referral unit for excluded students, a GCSE study centre, and the Black Swan pub on Peasholme Green, and we want to extend to other venues. 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 might concentrate on the language to highlight how physical it is and how it gives insight into the characters and direction of the drama.

The workshop was FABULOUS! you infused my mind with ideas for our future production therefore thank you! I hope that your performance goes well
:3 much lurve!

Twelfth Night workshop

Workshops have been led by dicrectors and performers form our various producitons, and we haev worked with others such as Amanda Strevett Smith, a drama teacher specialising in Shakespeare and drama therapist. They 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.

“I never knew Shakespeare had such a sense of humour”
Taming of the Shrew Workshop

Achievements so far:

  • October 2001: Weekend workshops for the National Family Learning Weekend. These were 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.
  • 2013: in February we offered two workshops looking at Shakespeare’s verse with Juliet Forster, and in May a workshop on Shakespeare’s clowns with Michael Lambourne. All were held in York Theatre Royal’s De Grey Rooms.
  • 2014: In March we ran two workshops taking Twelfth Night to Allerton Grange School and to Once Seen Theatre Company, a group for adults with learning difficulties. The school students commented:
    ‘… the workshop was very good, and particularly liked the practical exercise using different parts of the body to lead ourselves around. We are using these techniques in our performance as it really helps with characterisation, thanks!’
    ‘… you were fantastic leaders and you really helped us with the characterization and development.’
    ‘…i had lots of fun at the workshop, it was really interesting and i found it good to see the play with new eyes’