Homeschooling: RSC launches Live Lesson and Homework Help online
James R | On 28, Apr 2020
The Royal Shakespeare Company is stepping into the breach to help schools, parents and students across the UK with a live-streaming lesson, homework assistance and a partnership with BBC Bitesize focused on the Bard.
Today, Exploring Macbeth: A Live Lesson streams live on YouTube for free from 11am to 12pm, taking viewers behind the scenes to see how RSC actors approach the text of Shakespeare’s famous historical tragedy. Recorded in 2018 alongside the RSC’s most recent production of Macbeth, the Live Lesson focuses on the character of Lady Macbeth and will give students a greater understanding of the plot, and character choices in Macbeth. The Live Lesson is suitable for KS2 – KS4.
The production, which is available to stream on BBC iPlayer now, stars Christopher Eccleston as Macbeth and Niamh Cusack as Lady Macbeth. In the lesson, Cusack works with Assistant Director Peter Bradley on key speeches from Act 1, Scene 5. You will see how they approached this scene in rehearsals, how they unlocked language and explored a variety of performing choices. They discuss what these choices reveal about her character and the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.
The lesson, which will be available on-demand below, is joined by a context film about the play during Shakespeare’s time, a video breaking down the plot of Macbeth and a resource pack filled with activities.
Cusack, Edward Bennett (Macduff) and other RSC actors will also be standing by to answer any questions you have about the play, the characters, and anything else you might like to know about being an actor at the RSC. Tweet your questions using the hashtag #RSCMacbeth by 12pm on 28th April. After the Live Lesson, @RSC_Education will tweet the actors’ answers.
Other lessons available on-demand include Measure for Measure, The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Julius Caesar and Hamlet.
The RSC’s Homework Help initiative gives young people everywhere the opportunity to pose questions about Shakespeare and drama studies to working actors and alumni from the Royal Shakespeare Company. Those responding to questions and offering top tips on how to tackle the language include David Bradley – star of the Harry Potter film series – plus Doctor Who and Broadchurch star David Tennant, as well as Paapa Essiedu, who played the title role of Hamlet in Simon Godwin’s 2016 production for the RSC (also available on BBC iPlayer).
Those wishing to pose questions are asked to email them to firstname.lastname@example.org, or share their questions using the hashtag #RSCHomeworkHelp on Twitter or Instagram by no later than Sunday 10th May. A selection of video or written answers from RSC actors will be shared via the RSC website from 11th May to coincide with the first BBC Bitesize Teaching Shakespeare week.
BBC Bitesize: Shakespeare in Focus
The RSC is working in partnership with the BBC to deliver two focused weeks of GCSE lesson plans themed around Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice, The Shakespeare weeks take place between Monday 11th and Friday 15th May and Monday 15th and Friday 19th June.
The weeks will involve daily Shakespeare lessons developed by the RSC for Year 10 students to help unlock Shakespeare’s work and language. Focussing on Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth, the lessons will offer special insights from RSC actors and directors about how to decode Shakespeare’s language and bring 400-year-old plays to life for today’s audiences.
For more on BBC Bitesize Daily, which delivers daily learning across BBC iPlayer and the Bitesize website, click here.
For a guide to what Shakespeare plays are available on BBC iPlayer and elsewhere, click here.