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28 October 2014

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Teachers' Notes - Acting

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To accompany the website, ICT Advanced Skills Teacher Paul Sibson has written a set of Teacher's Notes.

This section suggests ways to tackle acting for a 60 Second Shakespeare in the classroom.

Many students will have had acting experience in school plays or other performances whilst others will have no acting experience at all. The key with 60 second Shakespeare is for students to just have a go. We are not looking for Sir Laurence Olivier here!

Let the students practice their plays in small groups before they perform them for you or the rest of the class. Give them the opportunity to take the scripts home and practice on their own.

You may find the 60 Second Shakespeare video workshops on displaying emotion, delivering lines and imagining different ways to play scenes useful here. The exercises demonstrated are designed to be taken and re-used by students to develop their own acting.

The BFI (British Film Institute) produce a DVD called Screening Shorts which include some excellent examples of how different directors have portrayed Shakespeare characters. For more information see
Suggestions for warm up activities

  • Hot seating a character is a good way to help the students understand motivation for the role. For example a panel of characters from Macbeth could be questioned by the rest of the class to establish the type of character and their role within the play.
  • The conscience corridor is another successful technique - the students line up in two rows and a student walks down the middle of this corridor as a particular character. The students in the rows then call out the thoughts of the character as they see it. This verbalising of what the character may be thinking will help them when they come to filming their movie.
  • Tableaus - This is like re-creating a photograph of the characters in a play at different stages, by having the students pose in groups. For example, they could create a family portrait of the Montagues and the Capulets as Romeo and Juliet's romance develops.
  • Freeze frames - Take a key moment from the play the students have chosen and freeze it. Get the other students to move around the freeze frame and question the characters about what is happening, why and how they are feeling at that moment.

    Remember, keep it simple, and above all, fun!

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