The other week I was lucky enough to go to The Globe theatre on London’s Southbank. Despite the fact that I’ve lived in London for years, studied Shakespeare at uni, and am a relatively regular theatre goer – I have thus far failed to visit this iconic theatre.*
Sadly I wasn’t actually there to see a play – tho I am hoping to get tickets to see Midsummer Night’s Dream over the summer so watch this space – I was in fact there as a parent helper to assist with taking the whole of year 7 (yes that’s 180 boys) to a Shakespeare workshop at The Globe.
When I was growing up anything or anyone who referred to a workshop that didn’t involve a carpenter filled me with thoughts of sarcasm and dread. However having kids has mellowed me beyond recognition, and this workshop was fabulous and inspiring, as was the tour of this beautiful theatre.
The school trip took place on what has this far been pretty much the hottest day this June, but luckily the school opted to hire 4 aircon coaches to transport us into central London rather than rely on public transport. Once we’d arrived at The Globe my group was first in for the tour, which was conducted by a charming actor with a role in the current production and who coincidentally was also a former pupil of my son’s school. He was great. Filling the boys (and me) with enthusiasm and imagination, conjuring up images of Elizabethan times and really interesting information on how plays used to be watched and performed in London. He then took us through to the actual theatre asking us to approach the door with ‘words and wonder’ and to come up with one word that we thought of the minute we entered the theatre. As we walked through the door ‘Wow’ seemed to be the most popular word among the boys (and me) it really is beautiful.
After educating us on why it is round (acoustics – an auditorium is apparently a place to listen not just to see so all people are positioned so they can all hear as well as possible) and the benefits of the open roof (hopefully sunshine for a Midsummer Night’s Dream – potential rain in The Tempest … And so forth). It is a gorgeous stunning carved wooden performance space.
We were then taken to one of the rehearsal spaces used by the actors and the boys did an hour-long workshop. Watching 30 12-year-old boys dancing, shouting, acting and even willingly taking on the role of Titania Queen of the Fairies was a revelation. The workshop was brilliantly inspiring, and the hour whizzed by and before we knew it we were off to the grass outside the Tate Modern for some fresh air, a runaround and a picnic lunch before jumping back on the coach back to Kingston.
I’m very glad I took the day off work – it was a Wednesday well spent – full of words, wonder and workshops…
- UPDATE: ON THE 8TH JUNE 2017 I FINALLY WENT AND SAW ROMEO + JULIET AT SHAKESPEARE’S GLOBE AND IT WAS AMAZING! READ MY BLOG HERE.