Online Understanding Shakespeare Workshop
(14 – 18 yrs) all year
An actors’ approach to Shakespeare’s text
by Alex Baggett (US)
STET Education is proud to work with Alex Baggett (a young actor from Colorado, USA), who is passionate about making Shakespeare understandable, accessible and therefore fun for everybody. He works with students to “demystify” the language of Shakespeare and show why so many actors love performing Shakespeare to this day. Alex will create a safe, encouraging online environment where students will feel supported enough to step outside of their comfort zones.
|COST||€275/1 hour workshop, €600 / 3 hours workshop – negotiable, discounts for multiple sessions|
|DATE||Ongoing as from April 2020|
|RUNNING TIME||1 hour (no interval) or 3 hours (can be spread across three days)|
|VENUE||online, through Microsoft Teams or Zoom or a platform you prefer|
|PARTICIPANTS||The workshop is the most effective and enjoyable for participants when there are maximum 15 students with a workshop leader. We advise two sessions if you have more students than 15.|
|LANGUAGE||English (Alex Baggett is from the USA)|
|REQUEST A SPECIFIC WORK||Are you working on a particular sonnet or play with your class? This workshop can be tailor-made to your requirements. If you plan on studying a specific play, we will fit the programme around that text. The activity plan is also tailored to age groups.|
Meet your workshop leader
Alex is a professional actor from Colorado living full-time in Amsterdam. Alex began his theatre career as a teaching assistant at the Denver Center Theatre Academy. During his time in Chicago, Alex was an active part of the city’s vibrant storefront-theatre scene. Some of Alex’s most notable roles were Matt in Dog Sees God (Fearless Theatre Company), Touchstone in As You Like It (Citadel Theatre Company), and Berenger in Rhinoceros (Public House Theatre Company).
In 2017 Alex made to decision to move with his partner to Amsterdam. Since then, Alex has become a member of Orange Theatre Company’s ensemble and performed in three of their productions (Pillowman, B-Word, Noises Off). Alex has also partnered with STET with whom he has conducted over a dozen theatre workshops for children and teenagers across the Netherlands. In August of 2019, Alex launched his own theatre company, the Reckless Shakespeare Company. The company operates on a simple premise: serious actors, no director, and one rehearsal. Every two months, the RSC mounts a new Shakespeare production in venues throughout Holland. He is delighted to be actively involved in the theatre community in the Netherlands.
The workshop plans are written by Alex Baggett
Workshop plan – Introductory
1 hour workshop
This crash course will include an introduction to Shakespeare’s writing style. How does his style inform the actors on what to do? Then we briefly go over Shakespeare’s poetic verse, and iambic pentameter. Finally, as a group we learn one sentence of a Shakespeare play together. I will lead the group and show them how I use every aspect of the text, from the iambic pentameter, to every punctuation mark to inform my own understanding of the text and my own performance. The class ends with every student reciting the sentence for the class. That is when students can talk about what the sentence means, but more importantly, how saying the sentence made them feel.
Goal: Shakespeare Never wrote his plays to be read. The words were only written so the actors could memorize them and share them with the audience. Shakespeare Should be spoken and heard. The goal of the 1 hour workshop is to break up the monotony of the students’ normal, digital school-day. Instead, I will give them a chance to be vocal, silly, verbal while stuck inside, at home. Shakespeare’s amazing text serves as the vehicle through which I encourage students to break out of their shells, even for a short moment. The 1-hour course is the perfect supplement to a more in-depth Shakespeare exploration.
Workshop plan – In depth
3 days, 3 hours workshop
This course is a continuation of the 1 hour course. The 1st session will be the same as above. Session 2 consists of an introduction to the sonnets, their significance, and their structure.
Depending on the group size, we will take turns reading lines aloud, then we will have a discussion about what it all means, and we will use the lessons learned from day one to “score” our sonnets the same way we scored the sentence from the previous day. Then each student will be given an assignment to memorize a section of a sonnet (the same way we memorized the sentence on day-1). The students are encouraged to be creative with their process.
Session 3: The Students will all perform their section of the sonnet I will give feedback and notes. I might ask students to try again in different ways, and encourage big choices, despite being behind a computer screen. The performance and feedback section will take up the entire hour.
Goal: The goal of the three day workshop is to give the students the necessary tools to continue exploring Shakespeare’s text. This 3-day course is the perfect precursor to any assigned Shakespeare reading in the future. If Midsummer Night’s Dream is on the syllabus and you don’t know how to prepare your students for the difficult language, this is the best option for you. As a teacher, you will be given many tools to help your students navigate through any Shakespeare curriculum. I have made it my career to make Shakespeare engaging and inspiring for non-native speakers, so please let me help!