Understanding Shakespeare Workshop
(14 – 18 yrs) all year
An actors’ approach to Shakespeare’s text
WORKSHOP BY ALEX BAGGETT
“There is nothing either good or bad,
but thinking makes it so.”
― William Shakespeare, Hamlet.
It is a little-known fact that William Shakespeare never published his plays in books. His plays were written on a series of scrolls for the actors. This means that Shakespeare never intended for people to read his plays. Rather, the words that Shakespeare wrote were meant to be spoken and heard.
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 hopes to “demystify” the language of Shakespeare and show why so many actors love performing Shakespeare to this day. Alex will create a safe, encouraging environment where students will feel supported enough to step outside of their comfort zones.
|COST||€320/1 hour workshop – negotiable, discounts for more than one hour workshop|
|DATE||April 2018 – July 2021|
|RUNNING TIME||1 hour (no interval), 3 hours (one workshop a week)|
|VENUE||your school or a location you provide|
|AGE RANGE||14-18 years|
|AUDIENCE MEMBERS||The workshop is the most effective and enjoyable for participants when there are maximum 15 students with a workshop leader. We advise two sessions OR two workshop leaders 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 from 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.
Workshop plan – Introductory (1 hour)
If you want to jumpstart or enhance your class’s study of Shakespeare in a fun and interactive way, then this is the ideal workshop for you.
In one hour students will be shown tools that actors use when approaching Shakespeare’s challenging sonnets. They will learn about the basic aspects of Shakespeare’s writing style and how iambic pentameter not only shapes the text but also helps the actors to understand and deliver the meaning. Students will engage their minds, as well as their bodies and voices to perform sonnets in front of their peers.
GOAL: To give students some tools to use during future exploration of Shakespeare’s works.
Workshop Plan – in depth (3 hours)
This workshop length is ideal for creative and interactive work, with time to dive into memorizing and performing short pieces of text. The best set-up is to have one class a week over a three week period. This allows the students time to apply what they learned in the first session to their chosen sonnet and use these new skills in a perfomrance. This is the ideal way to round out the basics of understanding Shakespeare and apply it in a fun and interactive way.
Day one will remain largely the same as the one-day class session, except at the end each student will be assigned his or her own sonnet to memorize and perform the following week.
“Be creative. Think outside the box!”
Session 2 (ideally a week later)
Students perform their sonnets for the class and receive feedback from the teacher and classmates. After a brief group activity, students will form small groups and receive scenes (or sonnets) to perform the following week. The remainder of the class time will be spent organizing the scenes, casting, blocking, etc. The teacher(s) will be there to guide and support each of the groups.
Session 3 (ideally a week later)
The final day will consist of a warmup activity and the students’ final performances. After all the groups have performed, we will go over what the have learned; what still is difficult to understand; and how students can explore Shakespeare’s texts even further.
GOAL: The goal of the three-day workshop is to give students the same tools that actors use to understand, and perform Shakespeare’s works as well as empower them to explore Shakespeare with confidence and affection.