When the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) wanted to explore how its Schools’ Broadcasts could be improved, they decided the right people to ask were the young people themselves.
The UFA team were brought in by the RSC and Arts Connect West Midlands to train young people as Young Researchers and Evaluators to explore whether the Schools’ Broadcasts are the best way to experience Shakespeare and their recommendations on how to improve them.
What Participants Say
“We know that one of the best ways to experience Shakespeare is to see it live. The RSC Schools’ Broadcasts brings the RSC into any school in the UK, students can watch full length productions in their classrooms or halls and so far over 76,000 have watched a broadcast. To support the broadcasts we create many resources to prepare students for the performance as we know that tuning into Shakespeare can be hard and the best way to watch any show is to ensure that students have engaged with activities beforehand. We have had lots of feedback from teachers and we are always striving to improve the broadcasts. But we wanted to hear from students first-hand about how the project should develop, we want young people to guide us.”
Georgia Munnion, Education Programmes Developer, RSC.
Young people from seven schools across the country took part in the programme, which involved a two day residential hosted by the RSC with a visit to the theatre to watch a live production of Henry V and the opportunity to take part in training from UFA.
These sessions explored the language and mechanics of research including how to collect and analyse data. They also covered the ethics of research and how to create a code of conduct, maintain confidentiality, how to plan and organise a research project and how to work as part of a research team.
Staff from the schools also received training in how to be a great ‘Supporting Adult’ so they could facilitate the roll out of the research in their schools.
There was a real buzz in the room as students learned together, formed new friendships and demonstrated to their teachers how young people are capable of so much. At the end of the first two days, each group went back to their school to carry out their own research.
Students used techniques including video and face to face interviews, surveys and graffiti walls to capture the views of their peers, before evaluating their data – in one case using it as a real life maths problem to solve.
At the end of the project they presented their recommendations to the RSC Education Department, with ideas including behind-the-scenes/design videos during the intervals, interviews with members of the cast during the intervals and recommendations for schools to carry out preparation work ahead of the Broadcasts.
The RSC Education Department will consider the impact the research has on the Schools’ Broadcast programme and where possible, will attempt to implement some recommendations ready for their next Schools’ Broadcast of Henry V.