Globe Education have been delivering practical workshops on Shakespeare’s plays since 1989 - well before the Globe itself opened in 1997. Hi
The first couple of chapters outline the theory behind the approach to Practical Shakespeare and the effect that the Globe Theatre’s architecture and style of performance has had on the developing work. The following section describes core approaches, such as when and how to cut text for workshops (with clear examples of how one scene can be edited in a number of ways for different purposes). Other techniques include the exploration of characters and relationships through archetypes, games and status exercises as well as approaches to text and storytelling. These draw on approaches by contemporary teachers and directors and could just as well be applied to any play - not just Shakespeare's.
Further chapters focus on language, staging and performance, with activities accompanied by appropriate edited extracts from the plays. The final chapter looks briefly at the value of using a practical approach to Shakespeare in educational settings to provide a framework for personal and social development.
While the book is written by Fiona Banks, dotted throughout are useful tips and comments from other members of the Globe Education team, highlighting how approaches can be adapted in different ways to suit the style of the teacher and the needs of the students. Some activities have been invented by team members and others are variations of games and exercises which have become more widely known in recent years through work by the RSC, the Royal National Theatre, the Shakespeare Schools Festival and books by authors such as James Stredder (The North Face of Shakespeare) and Rex Gibson (Teaching Shakespeare).
This particular book is an excellent and thorough resource which provides teachers and directors with a battery of exercises to help students and actors discover Shakespeare's work through what must surely be highly enjoyable active learning and exploration.