Our Theatre 2018: As You Like It

In July 2018, “Our Theatre” actors performed their rendition of “As You Like It” at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.

Over a 6 month period, three mainstream secondary schools, one special educational needs school and one adult community drama group worked collaboratively with a Globe Education Practitioner to rehearse their very own version of “As You Like It”. Throughout their rehearsal process the “Our Theatre” participants, aged 11–60, creatively explored the play’s themes of love at first sight, disguise and the differences in city and country life. At the end of the learning session, all participating groups presented one act of the Shakespeare play in a full “Our Theatre” company performance – open to the public.

You can read updates from the rehearsal process below and find out more about the final performance here.

UPDATE June 1, 2018

The 80 participants (adults and students from The People’s Company, Sacred Heart School, University Academy of Engineering Southbank, Walworth Academy and Spa School) taking part in “Our Theatre” are now in week 8 of their rehearsal process. The groups are fast approaching the performance of their own version of “As You Like It” in their respective community settings. These are taking place in the week commencing 18 June, before all groups come together for the ensemble performance on 12 July in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare’s Globe.

The 16 photography students from London South Bank University, who have been documenting the rehearsal process, are preparing their exhibition to accompany the performance on 12 July. They have also submitted photographs that will be featured in the programme for the ensemble performance.

UPDATE July 10, 2018

It’s dress rehearsal fortnight for the “Our Theatre” performers! Over the last few days, all of the groups have visited the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse to run through their scenes and get a feel for the space. The playhouse is an exciting venue for any performer, no matter what their level of experience. Both stage and audience can be split into three different levels, and with stairs to climb and pillars to negotiate it offers an excellent opportunity for the actors to experiment with the power of movement and voice in communicating meaning.

Soon all of the groups will come together for their joint performance – but not before they get the chance to watch each other’s scenes in their final dress rehearsal. This collective approach to performing will create a really exciting character arc, as the audience are treated to five different interpretations of some of Shakespeare’s most famous characters – performed in a space like the one they were originally written for – by five different groups from across Southwark. The different scenes will be linked by costume and music (kindly provided by The People’s Company’s troupe of musicians), but otherwise the only limit will be the groups’ imaginations!

This update was written by Dorothy, one of the Globe Education Assistants who has been supporting the Our Theatre project behind the scenes. The “Globe Education Assistant” programme aims to give school-leavers experience of working in a leading arts/education organisation.

“Our Theatre” is a community initiative run by Shakespeare’s Globe and supported by the Harris Foundation for Lifelong Learning.