School of English

Studying Macbeth School Event

During the Summer of 2011, staff from the School of English ran a ‘Studying Macbeth’ outreach day for 9-11 year-olds from Archbishop Cranmer Primary School (near Whatton). Julie Sanders, Sarah Grandage, Rachel Feneley and Jim Moran spent the day rehearsing and stage parts of the text with the children.

Programme for the day included:

  1. Introduction and warm-up games.
  2. Rehearsal of extracts of Macbeth (in 8 individual acting groups), with academic staff offering guidance and suggestions.
  3. Performance of those extracts to whole group.
  4. Drawing and discussion task in individual acting groups. Students were asked to trace, in pen, around the shape of a partner’s body on sheet of wallpaper, then draw on that picture an appropriate set of characteristics for the character they just portrayed in the acting task. They could also add words around the edge of the picture. Eg. if a student played the part of a witch they could draw onto their outline a scary face, a black hat, and words such as ‘frightening’. Once each student had finished that task, they were asked to sum up their characters with one another in the extract in one small-group freeze frame. 
  5. Students were shown extracts of 2 different versions of Macbeth meeting the ghost of Banquo. This was followed by group discussion. What are the differences? Which was better? Why?
  6. Hotseating.  Students were split into four groups (pair the earlier groups of eight), led by Jim, Julie, Rachel, Sarah.  Each group had to pick a Macbeth, a Banquo, a Lady Macbeth, Ross, Lennox, and Murderer, and the others would be guests at the royal feast. Hotseating each one in turn.
  7. Devising a version of this banquet scene. When rehearsing this scene, tutors encouraged the RSC ‘high-medium-low’ approach (in which sitting/lying on floor is low, sitting on chair is medium, and standing is high).  If one person moves into, say, a medium position, someone else has to move into the position previously occupied.  Helping to explore the power dynamics of the scene.
  8. Warm down & conclusion. 








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School of English

Trent Building
The University of Nottingham
University Park, Nottingham NG7 2RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 5900
fax: +44 (0) 115 951 5924