Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Matthew Barratt from Steps for the Future, a performing arts academy for adults with differences, has been volunteering with us each week. Here, he shares his experiences so far.

Here I am updating the 1623 Shakespeare LibraryHello, my name is Matt.

I first got started with 1623 when Ben Spiller [1623 artistic director] came and helped Steps for the Future on a drama piece based on Macbeth. He has worked a lot with Steps and has done some really interesting things around Shakespeare. We all like working with him.

Being with 1623 at QUAD has been a really good experience for me as I have learnt lots of new things about Shakespeare and his work. I have been volunteering at 1623 for 15-16 weeks on and off and I am enjoying the experience very much.

In my first week back in November 2015, I had a tour of the QUAD building for health and safety reasons. Then I met the staff and introduced myself. I found out how to sign in and sign out and learnt the office access code (it's easy to remember when it’s the year you were born).

A tabletop art piece that I like in the officeThese are some highlights from my placement so far:

* Sat in on a rehearsal with actors Grace [Scott], Oliver [Tunstall] and Kat [Glenn] who performed scenes from 8 different Shakespeare plays, then gave my feedback to the actors; I found it very interesting and entertaining

* Took part in a workshop on performing Shakespeare with work experience students

* Played Richard III and Benedick from Much Ado About Nothing in a workshop

* Attended a meeting with a board member called Margaret to discuss the business plan

* Planned a question for a meeting we had with Reuben, a student from Friesland School, and his work experience teacher; then took part in the meeting by asking my question, listening to Reuben’s answer and helping Ben to make the decision to offer Reuben a placement

* Looked up information about Shakespeare and his plays to see which ones were the most interesting to perform in

Me and my progression diary, which I update every week* Observed a meeting about a new project on Shakespeare and British Sign Language

* Found out how to transform sound from cassette tape to digital file

* Updated the 1623 Shakespeare Library database by adding lots of new books and DVDs and checking in returned items, which I put on the shelves (I really enjoyed doing this)

* Created a spreadsheet and a formula after counting some money in the petty cash box, then printed off the spreadsheet

* Watched Jamie [Brown] and Nathan [Masterson] rehearse Hamlet Off The Wall for a performance in Sheffield Museum and gave my views and expressed my opinions

* Evaluated the recent performance based on Much Ado About Nothing that Steps and 1623 did together at Deda; I played Benedick and really enjoyed it especially when I proposed to Beatrice (played by Chloe) and she said yes

By being with 1623 at QUAD each week, I’ve gained confidence with new people, being in meetings and giving my opinion on certain things. I have also gained more knowledge on William Shakespeare and his plays and how a theatre company works. The one negative thing that I have to say is I have been terrible at remembering other people’s names apart from Ben’s. But I have made name badges for everyone, so that should sort out the problem.


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