Adult Shakespeare Workshop
Run by Reading Between The Lines Theatre Company (RBL)
Featured Workshop Leader James Rastall
Held at The South Street Arts Centre, Reading.
When your joining instructions comprise of ” There’s no need to bring a pen, paper, Shakespeare texts or anything else associated with work! Just wear loose fitting clothes and comfortable shoes. The workshop will be over by 9pm”, you cannot help but to be at ease and this is a good thing.
A little history of me here may help. I registered for the workshop late last year and had been worrying myself silly about what it would be like, how out of place I would feel and how stupid I would look as I know little about Shakespeare. I am no actor; my first, last and only appearance onstage being the woodsman in little red riding hood when I was 8. Neither have I studied either Shakespeare or any of his works. All I knew about the gentleman was that I could sit through any of his plays, allow his glorious language to wash over me and be assured I would love it. I have been privileged enough to have seen professional, amateur and student productions and loved every one of them. But what on earth had I let myself in for and who did I think I was, signing up for a Shakespeare workshop.
So with more than a little trepidation I set off in the rain to the South Street Arts Centre in Reading. On arrival, I was met by Toby, the man behind RBL’s emails and Jim (James Rastall) who both put me at ease the moment I walked in.
This little review is not meant to be a spoiler for those who intend to attend a workshop in future so I won’t go into too much detail. We, the attendees, were a mixed bunch ranging in ages from late teens to mid sixties. A few with obviously some acting talent, some with none at all and everything in between, we were quickly gelled together by Jim and his easy way and his ice breaking games. Games that always had meaning but while playing them, we had no clue to that meaning. It was only after each one that Jim explained what we had done, how it related to Shakespeare, how he portrayed the emotions we had felt and how he engineered his characters to be loved, loathed, sympathised or empathised with. Who knew?
Jim is a man of immense talent and he held the whole group in his hand at all times. A huge smile, a bucket full of charisma and a quiet manner made each of us feel as if we were worth of being there and maybe the next stop would be on stage at The Globe.
If you get a chance to attend one of these workshops, grab it in both hands, give yourself over to it and join in. I assure you, you will not regret it. I loved every moment and met some very nice, interesting people into the bargain.
Thank you Toby, thank you Jim and thank you to the whole group for a great evening.