Royal Shakespeare Company to Co-Host MOOC

The Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) has announced that it will become the first UK theatre to co-host a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course). The Much Ado About Nothing: In Performance MOOC will take place in March 2015 giving young people aged 16 - 19 around the world free access to leading Shakespeare experts, actors and directors.

With a growing percentage of young people using online and digital resources as a springboard to their experience of culture, the MOOC is the latest in a number of initiatives from the RSC that makes use of new technology. Other programmes include the RSC's series of free Schools' Broadcasts which stream RSC productions directly into classrooms throughout the UK and a new, free suite of interactive whiteboard resources for teachers.

Together with opportunities to see Shakespeare performed live, and the Company's ongoing work with schools and teachers nationwide, these schemes are transforming the way that young people experience Shakespeare and reaching audiences on a scale that was previously unimaginable.

Jacqui O'Hanlon, RSC Director of Education said;

'The way people communicate, socialise and generally live their lives has altered dramatically over the past decade. Digital platforms have allowed us to reach people that we wouldn't have been able to touch through more traditional channels - whether because of geographical limitations or because they just didn't think theatre was for them.

'Our Schools' Broadcasts programme, which has just seen its fourth screening, means that thousands of school children who wouldn't ordinarily access our work, have now seen a world-class theatre production in their own classroom. They have also had the opportunity to talk directly to creative teams about the work they've just seen. Over 50% of audiences have been completely new to Shakespeare, 87% new to the RSC and a huge number are planning to attend a live theatre performance in the future as a direct result.

'It's clear that using new technologies is breaking down some of the barriers to participation that young people can experience. What it certainly means is that we are able to share our work and processes with many more young people than ever before.'

The RSC believes that its first MOOC and its recently launched free interactive resources for teachers will continue this success. The suite of free interactive resources for each of Shakespeare's plays will act as 'one-stop shops' housing everything a teacher would need in order to teach a particular play. The resources for Henry IV Parts I and II are already live, with more planned for this academic year and the whole Shakespeare cannon will be online by 2019.

Further information, introductory trailer and details of how to sign up for the Much Ado About Nothing: in Performance MOOC are available at: https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/much-ado-about-nothing

Information about the RSC's Schools' Broadcast Programme and the screening of Love's Labour's Won (Much Ado About Nothing) on 30 April 2015 can be found at: http://onscreen.rsc.org.uk/education/default.aspx

For more information about the free interactive whiteboard resources including Henry IV Parts I and II, visit: interactive-learning.rsc.org.uk.



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