College students and RSC stream Shakespeare into classrooms

2nd December 2022

Students from Stratford-upon-Avon College recently worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) to stream their 2022 production of Richard III into hundreds of classrooms across the country.

Using the College’s state-of-the-art TV Studio, students and staff from the College and professionals from the RSC produced live ‘wrap around’ segments including an introduction, discussions, and a live Q&A.

The students with RSC team
It was an amazing experience for the students to work with cast and crew from the RSC

Before the show started, the RSC’s Sophie Hobson was joined by Associate Director, Aaron Parsons, for an ‘in conversation’ interview to provide context for the play and the production. After the show, Sophie hosted a live Q&A with actors Rosie Sheehy (who played Anne in Richard III) and Micah Balfour (Hastings). Pupils watching were invited to send in their questions via email.

Digital Media Production, Photography, Graphic Design and Backstage Production Arts students from the College all took part in the project. They undertook a multitude of roles to make sure the broadcast was rehearsed, prepared and delivered.

The students took on a multitude of roles including lighting, camera operating and looking after the RSC actors

Rocco Mareri, who is studying Digital Media Production, took on a variety of roles including camera operating, technical supervisor and floor manager.

He learnt so much from his experience: “I learnt how to use the cameras more, looking at technical details. We also had to set up equipment in different ways, like setting up our BSL (British Sign Language) studio and looking after the talent. It gave a big insight into professional standards.”

BSL studio
The students also helped set up the studio for BSL interpreter Clare Edwards

Fiona Ingram, Head of Learning at the RSC explained why the RSC is happy to be working with the students at the College: “It is great to be working with our local college and we really value the relationship we have. The equipment and resources are second to none as was the dedication of the students and the tutors supporting them. There wasn’t a moment when anyone dropped their concentration, all the students were very professional. We are proud to be part of the students’ development.”

Hayley Pepler, the RSC’s School’s Broadcast Producer, was also impressed with the students work. After congratulating the whole team, she made special mention of Digital Media Production student Tom Bracke.

Tom was involved with a whole range of jobs during the broadcast rehearsal and production period including VT operator, graphic operator and lighting. But he also went above and beyond; trouble shooting and fixing problems when they occurred, including fixing the countdown clock, inputting scripts into the autocue and setting up new equipment.

Hayley commented: “Being a TV Producer is all about problem solving in a calm manner and Tom offered solutions along the way, provided us with an understanding of technical equipment and played a full part in the live broadcast. I’d employ him in a heartbeat!”

College Lecturer, Sophie Jolly, said “This was an incredible opportunity for our students to put theory into practice. The RSC’s schools’ broadcasts are watched by thousands of pupils all over the country so it’s important that our students worked to a very high level to deliver. Much of the technology we use is standard within industry, giving our students the practical skills to understand the environments they might encounter in their career.”

Find out more about the College’s Digital Media Production courses: Digital Media Production courses