Royal Shakespeare Company Returns to DCSZ

By Mr Ben Wills, Drama Teacher, Head of Year 13, Head of Theory of Knowledge

Last week Dulwich College Suzhou had the privilege of hosting three practitioners from two of the UK’s premiere theatre companies: the renowned Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) with whom we have an exclusive partnership; and Frantic Assembly, known for their physical theatre and choreography of works such as the Tony and Olivier Award-winning The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. The three joined us as part of EiM’s Worldwise Events programme, which connects the EiM family of schools with world-class professionals who can share their experiences and techniques with our students.

We were first Joined by Mr Peter Bradley, an Associate Learning Practitioner from the RSC who worked across the College for the whole week. He worked exclusively with the Year 8 students in the Senior School for the first part of the week. They studied approaches to performing, with each class being assigned one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays: The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet, and Twelfth Night. Over the course of the three days, students explored both the themes and text of their play. These were performed to an audience of parents, teachers, and other students on Wednesday afternoon last week, showcasing their creativity and the wonderful learning that took place during the week.

On Thursday last week, Mr Bradley worked with English Language and Literature students from years 7 to Year 11. He discussed the plays and genres that they were studying and worked with them to explore the intricacies of Shakespeare’s writing and the themes and issues highlighted by his works. Students at these sessions gained a greater understanding of the distinction between comedy and tragedy, and of the social and historical context that informed Shakespeare’s work. 

Students were engaged in practical exercises, reading and performing extracts from Shakespeare’s works to showcase their understanding of the workshops. This was particularly useful for the Year 10 and 11 students, who gained greater insight into A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Othello, two plays that will feature in their exams this year and next.

Junior School Learning

Mr Bradley was also able to visit the Junior School for a whole day, where he worked with the Shakespeare CCA. It was a wonderful learning experience for them – students from Year 3 to Year 6, working with the Royal Shakespeare Company! The children spent the morning learning acting skills and practicing their parts and then, in the afternoon, they performed a special selection of Shakespeare scenes for their parents, from Macbeth, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, and other plays. - By Mr Rowan Kohll, Year 3 classroom teacher, Shakespeare CCA teacher

The exclusive partnership and close collaboration between the Royal Shakespeare Company and Dulwich College International brings students amazing experiences every year. A big thank you to the RSC, our students as well as all of the staff involved in this project.