KS4 students had the opportunity to watch a live stream of Romeo and Juliet from the Royal Shakespeare Company. Many schools from around the country logged into a special website which allowed us all to watch a live broadcast.

International Programme Developer, Tom King visited Barr’s Hill School to watch the live screening with our students.

How was your experience watching the RSC live screening in a school setting?

This was my first time watching our School’s Broadcast in a school! I felt really lucky to have shared the experience with Barr’s Hill. It was great to see how Year 11 reacted to the twists and turns of the show. There was much laughter but also a few gasps! I thought the teachers’ advice to watch for the directorial choices in the show and for the students to consider how they would have done it themselves was very valuable.

How do you think the live screening benefits the students across the country?

Shakespeare’s words are written to be ‘heard’ – in fact, the word audience derives from the Latin for ‘hear’. The School’s Broadcast is one of way doing just this.  By lifting the words from the page we hope that it engages pupils in what is being said, the choices that are being made and the excitement of the story! Additionally, when people approach Shakespeare they can sometimes feel worried whether they are doing it ‘wrong’ or ‘right’. The broadcasts show that this isn’t the case; the directors, actors and RSC work to interpret the text and there is no right way of doing it! There are as many ways of speaking Shakespeare’s words as there are people and as many productions of Romeo and Juliet as there are audience members. I really hope that the student’s watching feel that they are empowered to question what they saw, consider what they liked and disliked and perhaps even put on their own productions! It’s also a means by which young people who aren’t able to see shows in Stratford can access our productions, Shakespeare and the arts.

Research tells us that preparing young people to watch the broadcast greatly increases their engagement and enjoyment. The RSC Education believe that using rehearsal room approaches to Shakespeare in the classroom can help students of all ages and abilities gain a meaningful connection with his work.