Olga hands-on for Shakespeare classes launch

By Sara Gahan

Chris McGuire and Lauren Corish Wallace in a scene from Romeo and Juliet.
Chris McGuire and Lauren Corish Wallace in a scene from Romeo and Juliet.
Sharon Lyons and Heather Hadrill.
Mayor Frank Staples, who launched the project, Olga Conway of Discovering Drama and Edward Cassidy, teacher, St Peter's College.
Simon Hussey, Leah Furlong, Ian Moriarty and Paula Moriarty.
Hilda Conway, Iris Johnston, Andrew Holden and Tom Conway.
Caroline Jacobs and Doris Murphy.

Founder of Discovering Drama Olga Conway has launched 'Hands On Shakespeare', a practical workshop for secondary school students who are sitting exams aimed at helping to remove the 'fear' that accompanies the study of the English playwright.

The classes are delivered with the assistance of a group of trained actors and drama teachers through a hands-on method which engages students of various abilities and allows them a path into the world of the plays in a fun and innovative way.

Mayor Frank Staples, who performed the launch, told the attendancce that he has had many battles with his own sons because of Othello and Hamlet. He feels that children's mental health should be a priority and that programmes such as 'Hands on Shakespeare' help relieve stress for young people around exam time.

Olga said that during her 15 years of drama teaching she noticed that there was a lot of negative feeling towards Shakespeare and she wanted to help to remove that fear.

'I have explored various scenes with students and found that they understood the objective and language more readily when the veil was lifted off the text and narrative while working through a physical approach,' said Olga.

Each intensive two-hour workshop is devised to meet the curriculum that is needed for third and fifth year students and examines the actual Leaving and Junior Certificate questions by exploring characters, themes, open questions and style questions.

The classes take place outside the classroom in the Jerome Hynes Theatre in the Wexford Opera House. Olga says it is the ideal venue as it allows the students to observe scenes that are acted out and also gives room for them to get up on their feet to participate.

For the launch Olga organised two scenes to be staged by Discovering Drama students to give a taste of the various workshops. Kris McGuire and Lauren Corish Wallace performed the famous balcony scene from Romeo and Juliet followed by a short soliloquy from Othello by Andrew Holden.

Students can attend both the Junior Cert 2018 version of the workshop and the Leaving Cert 2019 version (fifth years) in the National Opera House.

Performances include: Macbeth, January 29 until January 31, 2018, at 10.30 a.m.; Romeo and Juliet, February 5 until February 7, 2018, at 10.30 a.m.; and The Merchant of Venice, February 8 and February 9, 2018, at 10.30 a.m.

The workshops are approximately two and half hours in length and the cost per student is €10.

For more information contact Olga on, 0876858457.

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