The CAPITAL Centre (Creativity and Performance in Teaching and Learning) is a Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England. Founded by Professors Jonathan Bate and Carol Rutter in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company, it is dedicated to innovative and creative teaching in higher education, with a particular emphasis on the ways in which the performative skills of the theatre can be transferred into the world of teaching.
One of our major aims is to help students of English to explore the works of Shakespeare and his contemporaries as texts for performance rather than just reading on the page. All students on the module ‘Shakespeare & Selected Dramatists of his Time’ are accordingly participating in a Hamlet Workshop, led by a theatre practitioner.
This blog is your opportunity to record, analyse and reflect upon the experience of that workshop: what did you do? did the exercises succeed in opening up the text of Hamlet in new ways? how can you translate the process of the workshop into strong written analysis of the dynamics of scene and character in the play?
We want you to be critical as well as creative: what might we do differently? how might the exercises (many of which were designed for the rehearsal room and have previously been adapted for use in secondary schools) be elaborated to suit the needs of high level university students such as yourselves?
One question you might think about is the gulf between what you have learnt of the acting profession in Shakespeare’s time and the methods of actors and directors today: how can we overcome the tensions between, on the one hand, historical reconstruction of Shakespeare’s methods, his world and his purposes, and, on the other hand, the living experience of Shakespeare’s twenty-first century ‘afterlife’ in the theatre and in our culture more generally?
All students on the course are encouraged to contribute honestly and fully to this blog: it is not, however, part of the formal assessment of the module, so stylistic informality and critical judgement are wholly without prejudice to anything in the formal assessment.
Think, write … use the blog to explore whether the workshop helped you
TO CATCH THE CONSCIENCE OF THE PRINCE …