Will & Co.’s workshops aim to initiate the participants to an embodied approach of Shakespeare’s plays. We also offer workshops on Acting Shakespeare as well as general introductions to Shakespeare’s Life & Times.
"I learned a huge amount not only from you directly but also from your work with and through my fellow bardoholics. We all ended up better than when we started out - I came home buzzing - Shakespeare definitely is a workout! I will definitely try to remember that and to put it all into practice the next time I’m preparing for a role - it was brilliant!"
What is our Acting Shakespeare workshop method?
Our method is based on embodiment. Instead of focusing on Shakespeare’s words straight away, which is often the part that students are most reluctant, afraid or self-conscious about, we focus on the body.
We believe that the body is the best access point to Shakespeare’s words and plays, since they were only ever written to be performed and not read. We always start with a physical warm-up, and then move on to theatre games involving attention, movement, play, music, coordination, and group work. We also provide simple vocal warm-ups, as well as breathing and articulation techniques. These are easy to access and to implement, and make the iambic pentameter sound very immediate–not to mention the fact they perk up the students’ self-confidence about speaking in public!
When moving onto text work, we start by encouraging the students to move to a piece of music as the character they are playing. By starting with movement like this, we find that a door opens inside their body, through which all sorts of wonderful, powerful, Shakespearean characters are ready to burst through, speaking Shakespeare’s words effortlessly! From kings, to witches, to fools, we discover an entire array of Shakespeare’s renowned parts come alive in front of us.
On top of stage craft, we provide key information about Shakespeare’s life, times and works, and about the Elizabethan playhouses throughout our workshops. Thus, the students come away with a blend of historical facts, voice and body exploration, and, of course, Shakespearean verse.
Not only do our workshops help the student understand their character, but allows the student to connect with what rings true for them, in their own voice, through Shakespeare’s writing.
All the workshops are based on training Victoria Baumgartner acquired through her MA in English literature, with a specialization on Shakespeare in performance, on in her training for Acting Shakespeare at LAMDA, and on her ongoing practice with Kath Burlinson at the Authentic Artist Collective in the UK. For bigger groups or a longer stretch of time, Sam Veck or other members of the company may join in giving workshops.
“My students really, really enjoyed the way that the very well thought out workshop allowed them to have a completely new insight into Shakespeare’s universe and plays. We will welcome you again in a heartbeat!”
Jean-Claude, High school teacher
Our workshops are available for secondary schools, colleges, universities, theatre companies and local amateur theatre groups. We have successfully given workshops with our SHAKE method to French-speaking high school students, to amateur drama groups of all ages, and to University Undergraduate students!
We specifically tailor our approach to match the general experience of the group while always aiming to delve deeper into the world of Shakespeare than they would have expected us to go. If you tell us what you want to achieve and explore, we will always endeavour to both match the brief and go the extra mile in a fun, enjoyable means!
Our workshops can vary in length and are tailored to meet your needs; it can be anything from a few hours to a full week. Ideally, we recommend 3 hours to begin with.
Our pricing is negotiable and dependant on the number of students you have (as several facilitators may be necessary) as well as the time-slot you wish to devote to your workshop(s).
We are very happy to come to you. An empty room, classroom, or gym are all appropriate locations for our workshops. If you are a large group, we would prefer if there was a working sound system already in the room. For smaller groups, we shall provide our own means of music. Should you not have a space available to you, we are happy to arrange a comfortable place to work in for an extra fee.
"When I signed up, I did not know what to expect as I had never studied or played Shakespeare. The workshop turned out to be amazing! A lot of movement work, which is my favourite part in acting classes and something I did not expect to find in a Shakespeare workshop. Victoria's approach is fun, kind, very inspiring and professional. She makes the spoken part easier by introducing it through movement and emotion. I had great fun, explored different things and wished it had lasted longer!"