The only way to spend an hour working with the young people is to be completely ‘in the moment’.
Over the past four years, I’ve been privileged enough to work with a special school in Stratford whose teachers and teaching assistants I completely admire and whose students have taught me so much about my practice and how to properly facilitate a workshop with young people.
Although I’d had previous experience of working with young people with additional needs and a range of disabilities, it wasn’t until I was able to work closely with the teachers and students at this particular school on a regular basis that I learnt the absolute joy of enabling the young people to guide a workshop and its content and be completely open and responsive to where they want to take the work and how they want to ‘be’ in a space. As a practitioner and workshop facilitator I feel more comfortable going into a session knowing I’ve planned it down to the last minute. Working with the young people at the special school brilliantly sends all my planning out of the window and allows me to just ‘be’ with them and respond instinctively. The only way to spend an hour working with the young people is to be completely ‘in the moment’.
With such wonderful, supportive staff at the school, the young people have been regularly exposed to theatre and Shakespeare’s plays. For many of them the theatre is a safe space where they know they are going to be encouraged to just be themselves. They have no fear of Shakespeare’s language as they don’t view his more complex words as ‘other’ but just as part of their everyday vocabulary of words.