World Shakespeare Festival to be streamed into 3,000 schools

David Chadderton

A partnership between the Royal Shakespeare Company and computer networking company CISCO with support from specialist digital media and design college Ravensbourne and research and education networking infrastructure Janet will bring about the simultaneous streaming of a specially-commissioned World Shakespeare Festival into 3,000 UK schools.

Tim Crouch's new play I, Cinna (the poet) with Jude Owusu—currently appearing alongside Lenny Henry in the National Theatre's Comedy of Errors—in the title role will be streamed to schools around the UK on 2 July, followed by a live question and answer session with the actor and the writer-director. Teachers will be able to access the live broadcast on a computer and play it through a projector or interactive whiteboard in the classroom. There will also be four performances of the play at the RSC's Swan Theatre in Stratford between 13 June and 6 July.

Two teams of students from Ravensbourne are working on the project in collaboration with the RSC and Crouch: one to film and edit the performance and the other to develop an online platform for the project.

Online resources will be available for teachers and students exploring the play and Julius Caesar the man in contrast with Julius Caesar as Shakespeare portrayed him. There is also an interactive element to the play itself when Cinna invites students to write poems with him, which can be reworked after the performance and sent to the RSC for inclusion in a web archive.

Neil Crockett, the managing director of Cisco London 2012 that is providing the network infrastructutre for the London Olympics and Paralympics, said, "we want to use the I, Cinna project to inspire all the kids in the UK about the relevance of Shakespeare today but also the amazing possibilities of digital and social media and the excitement of IT as a career choice."