Up to 3000 UK schools will experience the World Shakespeare Festival simultaneously on 2 July 2012 in a ground-breaking collaboration between Royal Shakespeare Company, CISCO, Ravensbourne and Janet.
I, Cinna (the poet)
By Tim Crouch
Commissioned for the World Shakespeare Festival
Interactive and streamed into classrooms on 2 July 2012 at 10am
Jude Owusu to play Cinna
The Royal Shakespeare Company joins forces with project sponsor CISCO, with the support of Ravensbourne and Janet (one of the one of the world's leading research and education networks) to simultaneously bring a specially commissioned World Shakespeare Festival (WSF) production to up to 3,000 schools in the UK .
On Monday 2 July, a filmed version of I, Cinna (the poet), a new play written and directed by Tim Crouch for the WSF, will be streamed exclusively to schools around the UK. The play tells the story of Julius Caesar through the eyes of Cinna the Poet. The film will be followed by a live question and answer session with the actor and writer. This unique online event gives students aged 11 to 16 the chance to participate in a real-time nationwide project in which they can interact with thousands of other young people across the country. The project will showcase how digital and social media can make the arts more engaging and far reaching.
It will be a one click and play live broadcast, which teachers will be able to access on their computer and play through any projection device in the classroom, including a Whiteboard.
Two teams of students from Ravensbourne have been chosen to work on this project. One team will film and edit a performance of I, Cinna (the poet) and the other team will develop an online platform for the project. The challenge for each team is to capture the spirit of the performance, and to present it in an exciting and dynamic way for young audiences. Students will work closely with the RSC and I Cinna director and writer Tim Crouch under the guidance of Ravensbourne tutors. Ravensbourne, based at Greenwich Peninsula, London, is a specialist university sector college innovating in digital media and design.
Jude Owusu, who plays Cinna, plays the same role in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s brand new production of Julius Caesar, directed by RSC Chief Associate Director Gregory Doran. Doran’s production is set in Africa and staged in Stratford-upon-Avon (May to July), Newcastle (July) and London (July and August) as part of the World Shakespeare Festival. It will also be filmed as part of the BBC Shakespeare Season.
Jude Owusu is currently performing in the National Theatre’s production of The Comedy of Errors alongside Lenny Henry. His television and film work includes The Bill and Boogie Down.
I, Cinna (the Poet) will engage a young audience to think and write, considering the relationship between words and actions, art and politics, self and society.
It is the latest in a series of solo shows written by Tim Crouch inspired by Shakespeare’s lesser characters, including I, Peaseblossom and I, Malvolio. As well as the filmed version, there will be four performances on the RSC’s Swan Theatre stage in Stratford-upon-Avon from 13 June – 6 July 2012.
During the course of the performance, Cinna will invite students to write poems with him: small poems on big themes. These poems can be reworked after the performance and sent to the RSC, where a web archive of responses to the play will be created.
There is an extensive education programme supporting the I Cinna (the poet) webcast which will include detailed online resources for teachers and students. These will explore I,Cinna (the poet) and Julius Caesar, offering students an alternative take on Shakespeare which can be used as a first introduction to his work or as a way of developing a deeper understanding of Julius Caesar.
Teachers who would like their school to be part of this unique event should register their interest on www.wsf2012.org.uk/i-cinna020712.
Tim Crouch said of the project: ‘I, Cinna (the poet) gives voice to Shakespeare’s unluckiest man. Cinna speaks less than 20 lines in Julius Caesar before being mistaken for the wrong person and torn to pieces by the mob. Now he gets a chance to speak for himself, to speak for his poetry and to a world that shows little interest in the minor characters. The play accompanies the RSC’s production of Julius Caesar as part of the World Shakespeare Festival. It opens at the Swan in Stratford-upon-Avon and will tour to schools and theatres. At each performance the audience takes up pen and paper and writes alongside Cinna. What they write becomes a digital record of the life of the show.’
Neil Crockett, MD Cisco London 2012, “With the help of the world class talent at Ravensbourne and the reach of JANET, 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. That inspiration will help drive the talent that this innovative sector needs to help lead the UK’s economic growth and build a brilliant future for Britain."
Professor Robin Baker OBE, Ravensbourne CEO said: ‘I, Cinna presents a unique opportunity for our students to work with a world-class organisation such as the RSC. As part of this high profile and dynamic project, students will produce video content and find original solutions to transferring a stage performance to camera. They will develop their creative, technical and project management skills, gain fantastic experience and enhance their portfolios of work. We are delighted to be involved, and to be continuing to embed our important relationships with Cisco and Janet.’
For more information visit: www.worldshakespearefestival.org.uk/