Bard in the Classroom
Enhance the experience of Shakespeare for your students with a workshop led by a Bard Education teaching artist. Available year round, workshops can focus on plays in our season or in the school curriculum, or can provide a general introduction through several plays. Active, engaging and energetic, our workshops give students first hand experience in the art of playing Shakespeare.
Through the use of voice, movement and acting exercises, students will have the opportunity to explore the characters and language and learn how to bring the text to life. These interactive sessions are both informative and fun, nurturing the students' sense of discovery and play.
All workshops use voice, movement and acting exercises to help students experience Shakespeare's language in action. Unless otherwise noted, workshops are designed to get all of the students up on their feet, participating.
A General Introduction to Shakespeare
Using text from a variety of plays, the teaching artist will give students an active introduction to Shakespeare's language and legacy. This workshop is ideal for students of any age who are new to Shakespeare.
A General Introduction to a Particular Play
The teaching artist will introduce students to the world of a particular play: the story, the characters, the ideas and the language through active games and exercises. This workshop is a great way to begin a classroom unit on the play or to prepare students of any age to attend a performance.
Creating a Character in Shakespeare
This workshop will use acting techniques to explore and create a character in the uniquely language-based medium of a Shakespeare play. This workshop is best suited to drama or theatre students.
An In-Depth Look at a Particular Scene (or Two)
Through an interactive process, the teaching artist will explore a scene in action, with student volunteers as actors. By portraying the characters, the students will examine the intellectual, emotional, practical and imaginative life of the scene. The teaching artist will include as many students as possible, sharing roles and engaging students in creating the world around the scene. However, there will be times when many of the students will be sitting and watching others work. This workshop is best suited to secondary or older intermediate students who are familiar with the play.
An In-Depth Look at a Particular Speech (or Two)
Treating the entire class as the speaker, the teaching artist will lead students in a detailed exploration of a soliloquy or other key speech in a play. The teaching artist will take considerable time helping students discover nuances of meaning in the text then lead students in an active exploration of the images and actions inherent in the language. This workshop is designed to engage all of the students at once, first in discussion then in active play. This workshop works well at any point in the classroom study of the play.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many workshops can we book for a single day?
Each Teaching Artist can do up to three workshops per day. If you would like to book more than three workshops, we would need to look at either an additional Teaching Artist or an additional day.
What physical space requirements do you have for the workshop?
It's ideal for us to be able to work in a theatre or other large, open room. However, we recognize that such spaces are rarely available in schools. We are happy to work in the classroom; however, we ask that you move all of the desks and chairs to the sides of the room, creating as much open space in the middle as possible. If you're able to do this before we arrive, that will leave more time for our activities. It is also useful for the Teaching Artist to know roughly how much space there will be for the number of students. Limited space may affect the types of activities we will be able to do.
How long does a workshop last?
We adjust our activities to fit your class periods, so workshops usually range in length from 60 – 75 minutes. Our standard fee covers a workshop of up to 80 minutes. We can create a program that lasts longer, but we will have to bill it differently.
How many students can participate?
The workshops work best with a group of students who are familiar with each other, so a regular class grouping is ideal. As with most learning activities, we'll be able to do different activities with smaller groups than we would with larger groups, but we are able to accommodate up to 35 students. If you are creating a group of students just for the occasion of the workshop, the ideal group size is about 16 - 24 students.
May other students watch a workshop?
No. Because some students may be a bit self-conscious doing acting exercises, it's important that all of the students in the room are participating.
Do you have any programs that can accommodate a larger group?
It may be possible for us to arrange a speaker for a larger group.
What materials or equipment will you need for the workshop?
Some workshops require photocopies (no more than a few pages) for each student. If this is the case, the Teaching Artist will discuss this with you ahead of time and provide the documents via e-mail.
What would you like the teacher to do during the workshop?
We ask that our host teacher remain in the room for the entire workshop. You are welcome to participate along with the students, if you are comfortable with that. If not, we ask that you actively observe the workshop. Please do not grade papers, check e-mail or do any other work; it sends the message that what we're doing isn't very important or interesting and makes it much harder for us to succeed. Although our workshops may seem a bit disorderly (acting exercises often encourage free expression) we very rarely have discipline problems. Students almost always respond with both respect and enthusiasm. If a Teaching Artist does encounter classroom management challenges, we would like to be able to request your help and support.
Can you do a workshop on a day when there's a Teacher on Call?
Please do not schedule a workshop on a day when you know you will have a Teacher on Call. It's really important for the students to have a familiar teacher in the room. If something unexpected happens and there will be a Teacher on Call on the day of the workshop, please make sure the teaching artist is informed, and please arrange to have an administrator or other staff member available to introduce the Teaching Artist. If that person cannot stay for the duration of the workshop, it would at least be helpful if they could check in a few times during the workshop. And of course, we request that the Teacher on Call remain in the room for the duration of the workshop, either participating or observing actively.
Why can't you describe exactly what's going to happen in a workshop?
All of Bard's Teaching Artists share a common goal: to give students the opportunity to explore Shakespeare's language as actors do. However, we all use slightly different activities and approaches. Different plays also lend themselves to different techniques, and the final variable is the students themselves. While we plan carefully the types of activities we will do in a workshop, we sometimes find we have to adapt them on the fly to suit the specific needs of any given group of students.
What if we're coming to Bard from outside the Lower Mainland to attend a Bard performance?
Can we add a workshop to our visit?
We have provided several workshops for students who have traveled to Vancouver from outside the Lower Mainland for a Bard performance. Although we have no suitable workshop space on site in Vanier Park, there are several venues available for rent nearby.
Generously Supported by:
Bard is able to offer these programs at less than our actual cost thanks to the generosity of our funding partner, BMO Financial Group.