Dulwich Spotlight | 8th Annual Dulwich Shakespeare Festival

We are just wrapping up the 8th Annual Dulwich Shakespeare Festival - the second online edition in collaboration with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) Learning, the education arm of the world-renowned British theatre company. 

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This year, the festival's theme was "Four Seasons". Since early 2020, change has been the only constant in the ebb and flow of all our lives. Our staff and students have shown incredible resilience in adapting to new ways of learning. To reflect this, RSC Learning chose four Shakespearean plays for our students to adapt: A Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard III, Macbeth and The Winter's Tale, all of which have protagonists that must deal with change. Using the plays, characters and themes as inspiration we wanted students to reflect on and express their own differing experiences of the last two years. Along the way, actors and directors from the RSC provided workshop support and live feedback.

Students and schools could choose from 4 challenges, choosing from any of the Four Seasons plays:

  • Monologue challenge: where students could choose a monologue or soliloquy to prepare and record on mobile phones or zoom accounts.
  • Scene challenge: where students could choose a scene to prepare and record on mobile phones or zoom accounts.
  • Whole school film challenge: where a school could prepare and film a ten-minute version of one play.
  • Whole school devising challenge: where a school could create and film their own ten-minute play (that must include Shakespeare’s language in some form) in response to one of Shakespeare’s plays.

Participating schools were DCB, DCSPD, DCSPX, DCSZ, DHSZ, DHZH and DCSG with most schools choosing either Macbeth or Midsummer Night's Dream. This year, RSC Learning created a festival website exclusively for participating schools - a unique space in which all the films can be shared alongside the festival film itself. This website can be shared with parents, students and staff either at home or at school.

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Submissions have been incredible to see, and we're proud to note that in some schools, the festival was completely student - led.

Here’s what our staff and students had to say:

"This year’s Dulwich Shakespeare Festival was fantastic! It gave our students a brilliant opportunity to be creative with some of Shakespeare’s most famous works. At DCB, this project was entirely student-led which provided students with multiple creative and leadership opportunities and I am certain that they have become better performers and leaders as a consequence of this. A thoroughly enjoyable event!" —— Alexander Tew, Head of Drama, Dulwich College Beijing

"I liked how Joe simplified the story and how we just did chunks of it. I also loved all the fake blood - it was fun to use and looked really realistic!" —— Olivia, Y6 student, Dulwich College (Singapore)

"It was very fun to explore and learn some Shakespeare. I wish we could do it more!" —— Kamiel, Y6 student, Dulwich College Suzhou

As one of only six exclusive global RSC Learning partners, our students benefit from world-class performing arts experiences and professional drama workshops - once again we are blown away by the talent and hard work of our students and we're excited to see it again next year!

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