RSC actors have the answer for homework questions

Published: 19 July 2020
Reporter: Steve Orme

David Tennant: questioned about his favourite Hamlet soliloquy

The Royal Shakespeare Company has revealed that more than 100,000 young people have received advice on performing and studying Shakespeare from RSC actors and alumni as part of its Homework Help initiative.

Highlights of the campaign include contributions from RSC associate artist David Tennant who responded to a question about his favourite Hamlet soliloquy; actor, director and writer Adjoa Andoh who responded to the question "is Shakespeare relevant?" by discussing some of the ways in which Shakespeare can speak to us today; Paapa Essiedu who gave students a masterclass in making characters their own; David Bradley who shared tips about how to get into theatre; and artistic director Gregory Doran who gave insights into the downfall of Richard II and the complex morality of Measure for Measure.

The actors volunteered to answer questions. Topics covered as part of Homework Help included "did Shakespeare write in posh or colloquial English?" and "why are genders reversed in productions and does it work?".

The #RSCHomeworkHelp initiative began in May 2020 and has received more than 500 submissions from young people studying Shakespeare around the world including Australia, New York, Indianapolis and Tanzania.

UK schools closed on 23 March 2020 and since then the RSC’s dedicated education web site Shakespeare Learning Zone has received more than one million views—an increase of 300% in comparison with the same period in 2019. Tennant's video in the Homework Help campaign was watched 89,000 times.

RSC director of education Jacqui O’Hanlon said, "we've been overwhelmed by the number and variety of questions received in response to our RSC Homework Help initiative and are incredibly grateful to our RSC artists for giving up their time to help, support and inspire young people through this challenging time."