First taster session for new recruits to Bradford’s Shakespeare Nation

They are taking part in online workshops with the RSC’s top voice coach Michael Corbidge (pictured) before starting their first venture – making a film called Doorstep Shakespeare. 

The new recruits – aged from late teens to late seventies - include students, teachers, office workers, plumbers and pensioners. They came forward at the beginning of the year after Bradford Theatres appealed for more volunteers from the local community to take part in the joint outreach project.

Shakespeare Nation provides opportunities for adults from all walks of life to become Shakespeare Champions, joining workshops with professionals from the RSC, including actors, directors and voice experts, before creating their own theatrical pieces. 

The workshops help with many areas of self-development and enable participants to experience the thrill of Shakespeare in their own communities and build a life-long relationship with theatre. 

Bradford Theatres’ Shakespeare Nation group of champions is currently working with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Voice and Text Associate Michael Corbidge and have so far enjoyed two hour-long online workshops looking at the delivery of comedy speeches.

 Shakespeare Champion, Angela, said:

“It never ceases to amaze me how refreshingly new and relevant and insightful these workshops are. I am very grateful!”

 While Bradley Cook Pattison said:

“I have learnt more in this session than I ever thought possible! The opportunity to be free to experiment and explore the text in a joyful and uplifting way was just what I needed in these challenging times.”

 In a previous Shakespeare Nation project in November 2020, Bradford key worker Georgina Jovanovic, enjoyed a zoom rehearsal of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 55 with professional actor Zoe Lambert, who lives in Holmfirth, and RSC Producer Ian Wainwright. 

Georgina chose to focus on Sonnet 55, because its theme is the endurance of love.  She explained:

During lockdown, it's been a particularly challenging time to remain focused on anything other than the issues going on around us. As a key worker and a full time student priorities have shifted as the world becomes a more challenging place to live in. I believe that staying creative is a form of self care and can also be used to turn seemingly negative situations into more positive ones.” 

Councillor Sarah Ferriby, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places said:

We are delighted to be part of the Shakespeare Nation project with the RSC and so proud of the creative voices and new storytelling that has emerged from our community, bringing a strength and positivity to the fore at this challenging time. I hope that more local people will sign up for these wonderful opportunities.”

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