• RSC sends Signing Shakespeare resources to all specialist deaf schools in the UK

    960 640 Stuart O'Brien

    Teaching packs to make Shakespeare more accessible to deaf students are being sent to every deaf school and major deaf unit in the UK as part of the Signing Shakespeare project, which is supported and developed via a long-term partnership between the University of Birmingham and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

    The printing and sending of the materials has been made possible thanks to a donation from The Arden Shakespeare, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC.

    Dr Abigail Rokison-Woodall, Deputy Director (Education) and Associate Professor in Shakespeare and Theatre at the Shakespeare Institute, who co-led the Signing Shakespeare project said: “There are over 50,000 deaf children in the UK and Shakespeare is the only named author that all children are required to study in the national curriculum. But the fact is that there aren’t many resources for deaf students studying Shakespeare in school.

    “Signing Shakespeare is an educational resource programme which brings together visual and active learning for the study of Macbeth, so we can try and address this gap between the teaching provision for hearing and deaf students in school.”

    The packs sent to the schools contain a complete Scheme of Work for teaching Shakespeare’s Macbeth, as well as handouts and other resources, which accompany films of scenes from the play which are performed by deaf actors using British Sign Language.

    The resources for studying Macbeth allow deaf students to explore the story, characters, relationships, themes, imagery, rhythms, and literary devices in the play. The programme features collaborative activities and writing tasks which support students to develop an understanding of the different perspectives and layers within the text.

    Dr Rokison-Woodall concluded: “I am thrilled that thanks to The Arden Shakespeare we can send these resources directly to all 22 deaf schools and every major deaf unit in the UK. Such an integral part of the curriculum and our national cultural identity should be readily available for all students to study and enjoy. Signing Shakespeare is one step in the right direction.”

    Margaret Bartley, Editorial Director of The Arden Shakespeare said: “We are delighted to be able to support this important project, helping to give deaf students access to all that studying and performing Shakespeare has to offer young people.”

    Signing Shakespeare is available for teachers to access through the Royal Shakespeare Company website.

    Photo by Thiago Barletta on Unsplash


    Stuart O'Brien

    All stories by: Stuart O'Brien

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