Students saw a dramatic, pared-down production of Romeo and Juliet performed by the Young Shakespeare Company. The play was staged in the round, meaning that the action took place in the middle of the audience. The session started with a 20-minute workshop where the actors spoke about how they can change the whole tone of a scene by altering the emotions they portray.
There were minimal props and fast costume changes with cast members taking on multiple roles. Afterwards student Ruby Johnston said: ‘It was a modern take on Romeo and Juliet but as the actors used the original language seeing it performed helped us to understand it in context.’
Poppy Aves added: ‘It was really close up so we felt more involved in all the action. We learned all about the decisions the actors make about the characters, their motivation and how they are going to play them. Seeing this production will definitely help with our coursework.’
Annie Gregson, who played Juliet and Benvolio said: ‘With secondary age students it is about seeing the process and the finished product. The play remains fresh because it is written so well. Even though we do a condensed version it is so rich that you can pick out different lines and, as an actor, different parts sing to you. With many Shakespeare plays there are sub-plots whereas Romeo and Juliet is immediate so it is easier to keep interested in the action.’