Monday, 29 February 2016

Aaron and Tom from Year 10 joined us last week for their work experience to find out what's involved in running a theatre company. This is their blog.

Costumes and props that we chose for the workshopFRIDAY 26 FEBRUARY

Today we took some costumes and props from the 1623 wardrobe to organise for tonight's Shakespeare Night workshop on Much Ado About Nothing.

Ben asked us to read through the extracts from the masked party in the play, make a note of the characters who speak at the party and then put together a disguise for them. This would mean the characters would need to be wearing something completely opposite to what they would normally wear.

Then we went into the Green Room and put the costumes and props on the table.

We asked a few people from the QUAD office to put on costumes and act out the snippets from the party in the play.

This was a success and we would like to thank everyone who got involved, it was great fun.

Aaron takes a look through the first Still Cursing photobookDuring lunch we went round the office giving out Starbursts and everyone enjoyed them.

After lunch we met Shane [Lynch, 1623 participation coordinator], who took us through the materials and ideas for the workshop tonight. After that we went back into the office and made some cards for a game at the workshop.

Thank you to everyone involved in our week of work experience and thank you for being so kind. Thank you especially to Ben. We hope to see you all in the near future and recommend 1623 theatre company and QUAD to anyone who is looking for work experience.


We started out the day by taking a visit to the Green Room where we spent time speaking to Margaret [Dewhurst, 1623 business consultant] about how we can help bring Shakespeare into the lives of Year 10 students without making it boring or too traditional. We also received a copy of the first volume of Still Cursing to have a look over. This was a photobook made by Ben and Michael who works at QUAD and Show Me Pictures. He was very friendly and full of interesting ideas. It made us realise that you can make Shakespeare mean something to the world we live in through photos, not just words on a page or in a theatre.

Tom reads the 1623 business plan - confidential!We also did a Shakespeare workout, which involved us doing an interactive storytelling of Troilus and Cressida where we used the many illness and diseases of Thersites, a grumpy Greek soldier, to warm up. We also marched to a beat and spoke directions to our army as if we were leading it. To cool down we did a visual representation of Helen of Troy, who is described as 'the mortal Venus' in the play. Venus is the Goddess of Love and Beauty. 

Before lunch we looked at mobile charges from Zambia and Botswana back to the UK for Ben's trip, which he is going on soon.

Then we did some research into how video games could be used to engage young people with Shakespeare. We visited the Globe Theatre's website to do this.

Later on, we went back to the Green Room to take part in a business meeting and look at budgeting for 1623's future events. We met Chris [Lydon, 1623 creative producer] who has made a database for 1623 and called it Prospero after a character in The Tempest. We were really impressed by it.

Today, we learnt lots of things about the business side of 1623 and we are starting to think of ways that 1623 can make Shakespeare even more exciting for young people. We're tired now, but enjoyed today a lot.


Contacting Grace, Jamie and Oliver on Twitter to ask them questions about actingToday we got the opportunity to take over the 1623 Twitter account and ask 3 of the company's associate artists some questions about what it's like to be an actor. We tweeted Grace Scott, Jamie Brown and Oliver Tunstall using the hashtag #AskActors. They answered all our questions and were very helpful. We would like to thank them all for sharing what they know and giving us advice.

After we had lunch (chip butties from a really kind lady called Seb who works on a photography festival), we picked out the most useful tweets from Grace, Jamie and Oliver before putting them into a document, which we printed out and added to our work experience folder. 

Then we folded and stapled the booklets on Much Ado About Nothing for Shakespeare Night on Friday.

Claudio, Friar Francis and Hero in our workshop on Much Ado About Nothing todayBen showed us all the other booklets from past Shakespeare Nights on the 1623 Dropbox. We printed them and turned them into booklets to make a Shakespeare Night archive. Ben asked us to print three copies of each booklet - one for the archive and one for both of us. 


We started today by making changes to the posters that we created yesterday. We changed them so that they suited a younger audience better.

Then Matthew from Steps for the Future joined us and Ben gave us a booklet on Much Ado About Nothing that he and 1623 participation coordinator Shane Lynch made last week. The booklet is for Shakespeare Night that 1623 is running on Friday at Derby Theatre.

We all read through the booklet together to find out the plot of the the play, other stories that inspired Shakespeare and a bit of historical context so that we knew what happened when Shakespeare wrote the play and when it was first performed.

Ben asked us to find objects to represent the characters in the play and then tell the story of the plot using them. We did this with Matthew who enjoyed the activity along with us. Hero and Claudio were pencils, Friar Francis was a vase of blossom, Leonato was a coat hanger, and Beatrice and Benedick were a pair of loud speakers.

It might sound weird, but it really helped to understand the story of the play by moving the objects around the room.

One of the posters that we made based on our research into 1623After lunch, we chose a scene in the play and rehearsed it on our own at first. Then Ben joined us, watched our scene and gave us feedback. Then we tried out the scene again. We chose the scene between Benedick and Beatrice where they admit to liking each other. This was lots of fun.


Today we met up with Ben, 1623 artistic director, and got a tour of QUAD, which is an amazing arts centre where 1623 is based.

Everybody was really friendly when Ben introduced us to them.

We enjoyed looking at the features of QUAD and 1623 before normal opening hours. We especially enjoyed exploring the 3rd floor which is used for projecting films into the 3 cinemas.

We spent the afternoon in the office with the spinning chairs and up-to-date computers. We worked on the computers to research 1623 and design posters to let young people know what 1623 theatre company is all about.

Then we printed out the posters and Ben gave us feedback on them. We will work on his suggestions tomorrow morning.

Ben is very friendly and kind and he is great at his job, along with the rest of the team.  We are looking forward to tomorrow.


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