A Free On-line Course!

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As readers of this blog know, we’ve been busily working on a new on-line course called Getting to Know Shakespeare. It’s been produced and built by my friends and colleagues at The LaC and is sponsored by The Arden Shakespeare.

The course is all up and running – it’s FREE! – and you can sign up to it here!

It’s a series of video and audio posts filmed and recorded with little more than flipcams and i-phones. We wanted to convey a mood of ‘beat Shakespeare’, of Shakespeare talked about casually and in relaxed way. ‘Scripts’ were improvised around a basic structure. The emphasis is on immediacy and freshness.

Getting to Know Shakespeare is for anyone who would like to know more. Perhaps you’ve just seen your first play, visited Stratford-upon-Avon, or started studying Shakespeare at school or college. Perhaps you are a teacher wanting to present your English class with a variety of ideas your students can dip into. Getting to Know Shakespeare is somewhere to start.

The course has eight sections: Reading Shakespeare (Shakespeare as book and sound), Shakespeare’s Sonnets (a general guide), Authorship (an overview of the evidence for Shakespeare and of the Shakespeare Authorship Conspiracy Theory), Thinking Shakespeare (where Shakespeare came from, what made him possible), Seeing Shakespeare (Theatre Reviewing), Searching for Shakespeare (Shakespeare’s life and world), Teaching Shakespeare (across four major organisations), and Breathing Shakespeare (Shakespeare as a source of artistic inspiration).

I was keen to include plenty of academic content in as accessible a way as possible. The course is weighted towards acknowledging that Shakespeare’s words and writing are always the bedrock to which we return, that his language makes everything else possible. The sound of his words and the indelible impressions they make upon us I have always found to be life-giving. Getting to Know Shakespeare was an opportunity for me to share some the passion I have long felt.

And I’m joined by special-guess interviewees including friends from Shakespeare’s Globe, The R.S.C., The Shakespeare Institute (University of Birmingham) and the University of Warwick. Actor Scott Handy tells us about his insights into the sound of Shakespeare, Abigail Rokison talks about Shakespearian verse speaking. My ‘Shakespeare Aloud’ actor colleagues at The Shakespeare Centre read several of the sonnets, and there is much more besides.

You can work through the course at your own speed, but in order to aid digestion (we’re all busy people, so why rush more than we have to?) by signing up, you’ll automatically receive an e-mail from me for ten weeks. These are intended to help you engage more with the material the site makes available to deepen your interest.

Getting to Know Shakespeare is free because The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust wants to further the enjoyment and understanding of Shakespeare as widely as possible.

So, why not sign up to Getting to Know Shakespeare and please tell others about it too.

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Author:Paul Edmondson

Head of Research and Knowledge and Director of the Stratford-upon-Avon Poetry Festival for The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Follow Paul on Twitter @paul_edmondson
  • Vjscadence

    Hi, I signed up for the course, but I now can’t access it.  All I can get is the intro page with the link to the welcome video of paul Edmonson.  How do I get back into the real content of the course?

  • Alan

    Heard about it on Twitter-thanks.

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