National theatre company Bell Shakespeare has announced that it will open its archives for a special limited release of production recordings from its recent history, exclusively for schools.
From 25 May, its productions of Macbeth (2012), Henry 4 (2013), The Tempest (2015), Romeo and Juliet (2016), Othello (2016) and The Merchant of Venice (2017) will be broadcast to registered schools, free of charge. With all-star casts including John Bell, Kate Mulvany, Dan Spielman, Mitchell Butel, Jessica Tovey, Brian Lipson and more, teachers and students can watch these archived recordings from the comfort of home or school.
Bell Shakespeare Artistic Director Peter Evans said that each production would be broadcast for one week during Term 2 and one week during Term 3, to provide flexibility for schools who have had their teaching schedules completely disrupted. “Sadly, theatres around the world are dark at the moment, so we are excited to share these shows at a time when students need theatre, and artists need crucial support.”
Registration for the broadcasts is essential and each production has an accompanying Online Learning Pack, complete with production details, play specific information, and pre and post performance activities. “Sharing Shakespeare with Australians is at the heart of what we do, and we thank everyone involved in making these shows for allowing us to share their work with schools, students and teachers at this challenging time,” said Evans.
The broadcasts add to the suite of digital initiatives Bell Shakespeare is currently offering to schools, students and teachers. Specialised HSC Shakespeare Seminars are delivered in partnership with University of Sydney academics to support students in Years 11 and 12.
There is a Teacher Master Series – Professional Learning sessions for teachers and industry delivered by Bell Shakespeare artists covering verse and prose, directing, and vocal training and presentation for teachers. The Bell Shakespeare Shorts Festival is a festival of short films made by students about and inspired by Shakespeare. Initiatives also include the John Bell Scholarship – online auditions are available for this life-changing training opportunity for budding performers from regional Australia.
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