Uxbridge High School has been a dedicated member of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Learning Performance Network (LPN) for the past two years. We were first chosen by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) to play a major role in its highly-regarded national education programme in 2012. Uxbridge High School is a ‘hub’ school in the RSC’s three-year LPN programme, which aims to transform children’s first experiences of Shakespeare and improve the teaching of Shakespeare in schools. The RSC believes that young people experience Shakespeare best when they do Shakespeare on their feet. As part of the intensive teacher training the RSC has provided, we have learned the skills necessary to teach Shakespeare in a more active way, engaging and inspiring students, using techniques similar to those used in RSC rehearsal rooms.
The collaboration with the RSC has also given UHS the chance to work with Intermission Theatre, which has an outstanding reputation for making Shakespeare accessible to young people. We have made such close ties with the company that two of our alumni students are now part of Intermission Youth Theatre and have performed in two outstanding productions. Intermission’s fresh outlook on Shakespeare has redefined attitudes to studying the plays in Uxbridge High School.
Being a member of the RSC’s LPN has provided hundreds of students the chance to watch professional live productions of Shakespeare’s plays, including recently, Henry IV Part 1 and Henry V. We have also taken annual visits to Intermission Theatre to watch plays and the theatre company has performed ‘Verona Road’, a version of Romeo and Juliet, at UHS for whole year groups and audiences of parents. In spring 2014, the RSC visited the school with a production of Taming of the Shrew, which was specifically created for younger audiences and there was an opportunity for all students to be in the audience.
We have also been able to provide workshops for students with practitioners from the RSC and Intermission Theatre and our students have taken part in two residential trips to Stratford-upon-Avon, where they have had the chance to have workshops with industry professionals and back stage technicians who work at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre.
In 2016, together with artists from the RSC and Intermission Theatre, we are currently working towards a festival with our cluster schools: Whitehall Primary; Hayes Park Primary; Haydon and Vyners schools. We will perform ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ as part of the ‘Dream’ Festival at Uxbridge High School. We will also take this festival to Arts Educational Schools, where we will have students performing in the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation Theatre. UHS and our cluster schools will also be part of the performance of ‘The Dream’ in Shakespeare’s Stratford-upon-Avon
The RSC LPN has provided countless opportunities for our students and has made a deep impact on the attitudes towards Shakespeare in the school. As his work holds its place in the curriculum, we are proud our students respect, value and enjoy the study of Shakespeare.