The coronavirus pandemic has caused many students across the country to miss out on exciting opportunities. That hasn’t stopped a group of Bradford students studying Shakespeare in a create and engaging way.
Renowned RSC actor, Andrew French, has joined 15 English as a Second or Foreign language (ESOL) students in a live video tutorial. The students are from twelve different parts of the world, and all enjoyed learning about Shakespeare.
The seminar included information about Andrew’s life, acting career and all things Shakespeare. Though originally scheduled for 45 minutes, the conversation flowed and the seminar ended up lasting over one and a half hours! This just goes to show how engaged students can be when they’re given the right opportunities.
The innovative new way of learning was brought to students as part of a collaboration between Bradford Theatres, Bradford College and the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Julia O’Keeffe, Bradford Theatres Learning Co-ordinator, said: “Andrew really inspired the students. He spoke about his background, how he comes from a working class single mother family, and how you should never give up on your dreams, work hard, be real and authentic and believe in yourself.”
Student Muhammad Talla Ahmed Yasmeen said: “Andrew told us that acting was everything to him. I thought he was going to be a very serious person and use very complex words but that was not the case. I learned you have to strive to reach your goals and objectives.”
Students can learn a great deal through the theatre and the arts. The seminar was part of the Start programme, a three-year engagement programme of arts activity between selected cultural organisations and local schools. It aims to combat inequality by working with young people who are deemed at risk of missing out on a creative and cultural education. Many of these students have seen a variety of shows at the Alhambra Theatre over the last few years, and though they haven’t been able to attend physical workshops during lockdown they have been able to take part in digital opportunities.
It just goes to show how creativity and ingenuity can make a real difference to individuals and communities.