Acting students take to the RSC stage

25th July 2022

Acting students from Stratford-upon-Avon College made Much Ado as they took to the Royal Shakespeare Company’s (RSC’s) main stage for the RSC’s annual Playmaking Festival.

The Festival ran from 11-15 July 2022 and was the first ‘in person’ celebration of its kind in nearly three years. Inspired by Shakespeare’s romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, the festival bought together 380 young people from Cornwall, Blackpool, Hull, North Staffordshire, Cumbria, County Durham, Suffolk and Stratford-upon-Avon to perform their interpretations of Shakespeare’s much-loved play.

Cast on RSC steps
The students took to the Royal Shakespeare Company's main stage

Students from the College’s Acting course and Phat Swan Performance Company came together to produce the final section of William Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. This completed the full play with earlier sections being produced by other institutions from around the country.

The students were given the section of text and then had rehearsal time over a few weeks to create their work. Students Shannon Gillet and Mai Worth directed and choreographed the piece, as well as casting and performing.

The students rehearsed together under the direction of fellow cast members Shannon and Mai

The College students imagined their section of the play creatively and performed with flair and style. Mai commented on why it was such a great opportunity for the College students to take part: “It is such an honour to perform on the RSC main stage! It has got us looking at Shakespeare; it has opened our eyes to it and made it seem less alien.”

The Royal Shakespeare Company’s annual Playmaking Festival celebrates the creativity and imagination of young people and their teachers from Stratford-upon-Avon and across the country.

Commenting on the Festival, Jacqui O’Hanlon, Director of Learning and National Partnerships at the RSC, said: “We are thrilled to be welcoming young people back to Stratford-upon-Avon to perform on our stages. Young people have missed out on so much during the pandemic so this is not only a celebration of the brilliant work they’ve been doing in difficult circumstances but a great opportunity to reconnect, make new friends, share ideas and see some really great live theatre.”

Ru Galieva, an Associate Learning Practitioner for the RSC, working on the Playmaking festival as a Director Mentor, commented on why it is such a fantastic event: “It’s a lot of students first encounter with Shakespeare and it allows them the chance to take ownership and realise it is for them! 12 groups have taken part and each one’s section has been fun and different.”

Have a look at some photos of their wonderful performance above

Well done to all the students who took part!

Find out more about the College’s Performing & Production Arts courses: SUAC Onstage