Bell Shakespeare Players
Dates: 2008 - 2013
Company: Bell Shakespeare
Roles: Writer and Director
Between 2008 and 2011 I was the full-time Resident Artist in Education for Bell Shakespeare, with artistic oversight over the company's performances and creative learning content for young people. During this period (and in the following years) I co-wrote three scripts for the company with Joanna Erskine: Midsummer Madness, Such Sweet Sorrow and Macbeth Undone and directed ten one-hour shows based on a range of Shakespeare's plays, which toured to hundreds of thousands of young people around the country. This period represented a significant growth in the artistic rigour, quality and reach of Bell Shakespeare's programs, with long tours into metro, regional and remote areas in every state and territory. The quotes below are from teachers and students who experienced the work during this time.
I am sure I am yet another broken record teacher when I say that the Actors At Work Performance (Romeo and Juliet) was fantastic! The four actors (Frankie, Sean, Alex and Aaron) employed the Elements of Drama convincingly and sustained an exciting, imaginative and engaging performance. The use of humour and intertextuality really resonated with the students and drew them into the performance. We will definitely book you again and Bell Shakespeare has certainly lived up to its reputation. Thank you very much and please pass on my congratulations to the actors on their achievements and I wish them every success in the future.
Teacher, Cronulla High School, NSW (2010)
Unbelievable!! 'Actors At Work' presented highly entertaining, superbly professional representations of Shakespeare's work, making Shakespeare accessible to a young audience, enjoyable and easy to understand and appreciate. So impressive!
Maree Purcell, Bishop Druitt College, NSW (2010)
The students LOVED IT! Several at risk students contributed with questions and a group of students had their preconceived notions of Shakespeare absolutely shattered! Absolutely enthralling. Other teachers didn’t want to leave the performance for other duties. Students who are disengaged with school and learning in general were talking about the performance all week!
Tara Lightfoot, Peak Hilll Central School, NSW (2012)
Bell Shakespeare this morning was an outstanding experience for all concerned. The presentation by The Players afforded a best-ever enrichment opportunity… It was amazing. One young man even volunteered that he 'Would have paid to see that' !!! The Players have made all the difference to the understanding of our students of what can be thought of by them as beyond their interest and comprehension. I can speak of many individual students whom I observed to be totally engaged, and whom otherwise struggle with their learning. I can speak of students who expressed 'light bulb' outcomes as a result of seeing the play 'unpacked'. I can also speak of students who stayed back to speak to the Players out of interest and enthusiasm. And I can speak of students whom I have heard spoke to teachers later in the day of their positive experience this morning at 'Macbeth Undone'. So again, I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks'
Bronwyn Stow, St Patrick’s College, Launceston TAS (2012)
Student responses to the show were overwhelmingly positive. For several students Shakespeare all of a sudden ‘made sense’! Easily one of the best things we have ever done regarding the teaching of Shakespeare. The incursion also sits as one of our highlights for 2013.
Wes Palmer, Teacher, Mirboo North Secondary College, VIC (2013)
I was on the very edge of my seat the whole time; I laughed and almost cried throughout both shows and was so lit up and inspired throughout the rest of the day (just ask my friends, they didn't hear the end of it!).
Student, Seymour College SA (2013)