BBC and RSC join forces to deliver Shakespeare: Text Detectives

Thousands of secondary aged pupils are expected to tune in to a virtual Shakespeare lesson next week when the BBC and the RSC join forces to deliver Shakespeare: Text Detectives – the first Live Lesson about Shakespeare for secondary school aged pupils.

In the month that marks both Shakespeare’s birthday and the 400th anniversary of his death, the 45 minute Live Lesson will take place on Monday 25 April at 11am. The lesson comes hot on the heels of the first BBC/RSC Shakespeare Live Lesson aimed at primary schools which attracted an estimated audience of 21,600 children last month.

Hosted by CBBC presenters, Ed Petrie and Naomi Wilkinson, the Live Lesson is aimed at Key Stage 3/3rd Level students and features RSC actors Akiya Henry, Joseph Arkley and Rina Mahoney. Together the hosts and actors will lead pupils through a series of hands-on, interactive activities to explore Shakespeare’s use of sonnets, iambic pentameter and antithesis in a fun and engaging way.

Any school can take part and are invited to log on to www.bbc.co.uk/livelessons to access the live stream and explore Romeo and Juliet by searching for clues in the text that help to unlock meaning, language and the techniques that Shakespeare used to hook his audience in.Students can also send in their questions to be answered by experts as part of the live webcast.

Commenting on the initiative, Jacqui O’Hanlon, Director of Education for the RSC, said: “It’s great to be teaming up with BBC Learning to explore a play that represents for so many students their first encounter with Shakespeare’s work. The Live Lessons are already well established and alongside our regular free Schools’ Broadcast series  (where we stream our productions for free into schools across the UK), this is a brilliant way for us to take our work and our approaches to teaching Shakespeare and his plays out to a whole new audience. We hope to surprise students, and perhaps even teachers, with new ideas about the play as well as explore the range of interpretive possibilities it offers.”

Sinead Rocks, Head of BBC Learning, says: “BBC Learning is pleased to working with the RSC to bring the best of the BBC’s programme-making skills and on-screen talent directly into classrooms while reinforcing the BBC’s commitment to formal education. Live Lessons have been designed to bring innovative and inspiring curriculum-linked content to life whilst also providing an opportunity for thousands of children to participate in a shared learning experience. The opportunities to pose questions to expert guests and share what they learn will provide an experience a lifetime away from the outdated ‘sit and watch’ schools television of the past.”

To help teachers and classes prepare there is a special lesson guide for teachers outlining everything they’ll need to know before the lesson, activity sheets and more information about how schools can get involved at bbc.co.uk/livelessons. The full lesson and clips will be made available to view online after the programme ends.