ABC Splash and Bell Shakespeare create a new Australian voice for Shakespeare in the classroom, with a free, film-quality video series, Shakespeare Unbound, available online from Monday 11 August.
Embargoed until 11 August 2014: For the first time, schools across Australia can now access contemporary Australian performances of Shakespearean works in a digital form. In partnership with Australia’s national Shakespeare theatre company, Bell Shakespeare, online education portal ABC Splash has today released a new video series Shakespeare Unbound.
The video series is made up of 12 scenes from six of Shakespeare’s most famous plays: Macbeth, Othello, Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar and The Tempest. These videos are paired with 12 commentaries from the director and cast that unpack the meaning of the work in a way that is relevant for Australian students.
Each scene has been brought to life on film by some of Australia’s best known theatre actors, including John Bell, Tom Conroy, Ivan Donato, Kate Mulvany, Eryn-Jean Norvill, Damien Ryan, Hazem Shammas, Damien Strouthos and Miranda Tapsell.
Mark Scott, ABC Managing Director, said: “Bell Shakespeare’s work in schools across Australia is well known and now every school in Australia will be able to see some of Australia’s best actors bring Shakespeare to life in a way I am sure will leave a lasting impression. It’s an exciting initiative and I think shows that we are entering an exciting era for digital education that will empower both teachers and students.”
Joanna Erskine, Head of Education at Bell Shakespeare, commented: “Through our 24 year history of taking Shakespeare’s work to schools around Australia, we know that teachers are crying out for high-quality Shakespeare resources. Particularly those in regional and remote areas are constantly telling us that they wish they could show their students how Shakespeare is meant to sound, how it should be performed. They want accessible Australian content that is clear and contemporary.”
Angela Clark, Director of Innovation at the ABC, which delivers ABC Splash, said: “Created specifically for the digital education space, ‘Shakespeare Unbound’ gives all Australian students and teachers the same opportunity, regardless of geographic location, to engage with high quality and curriculum relevant content. ABC Splash is thrilled to be able to partner with Bell Shakespeare to produce such compelling content for this audience.”
James Evans, Shakespeare Unbound director, added: “We’re so excited to collaborate with ABC Splash to take our work for young audiences to the next level. Bell Shakespeare already reaches around 80,000 students annually with our live performance programs. With ‘Shakespeare Unbound’ even more students will have access to Shakespeare’s greatest scenes and soliloquies, performed by some of the country’s finest artists.
“The 24 videos are of the highest quality, packed with incredible insights from the actors themselves, as well as Bell Shakespeare Co-Artistic Director, John Bell. This is unique, premium, Australian content featuring stimulating discussion suitable for classroom study.”
This resource will provide teachers and students with a contemporary take on the life and work of William Shakespeare, engaging the new generation in a format that is interactive and educational.
To celebrate the launch ABC Splash are running a #ShakespeareSaid competition, giving away 10 HD cameras plus a workshop with the Director of Shakespeare Unbound for the winner’s school. To win, students need to pick a phrase Shakespeare has made famous and bring it to life in a photo or meme.
Share it on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, with the hashtag #ShakespeareSaid and enter it online to win at splash.abc.net.au/shakespearecomp
All content on ABC Splash, which is run in partnership with Education Services Australia, is mapped to the Australian National Curriculum.
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About ABC Splash!
Launched in March 2013, Splash is a ground-breaking education website which helps students, teachers and parents embrace online and digital learning. It was developed by ABC Innovation in conjunction with Education Services Australia, supported by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. It is one of the largest digital projects ever undertaken by the ABC and delivers world-class interactive educational resources for primary and secondary school students, their teachers and parents.
About ABC Innovation:
ABC Splash is a department of ABC Innovation which manages the ABC website abc.net.au and core mobile offerings including the ABC iPhone, iPad and Android apps. ABC Innovation also creates digital media content and services for online, mobile and emerging platforms.
About Bell Shakespeare:
In less than a quarter of a century, Bell Shakespeare has firmly established itself as Australia’s only truly national theatre company, specialising in the immortal plays of William Shakespeare and peers such as Marlowe, Jonson and Molière whose masterpieces bear comparison with the man acknowledged as history’s greatest playwright.
Through its tours, school productions and various learning programmes, Bell Shakespeare has spread its message from our largest cities to the most remote communities in Australia. Arguably, no other theatre company in the world devoted to the classics has reached such a wide audience within a single country, especially one as large and relatively unpopulated as Australia. Bell Shakespeare’s core mission remains the same as it was in 1990; to reinterpret the beautiful words, complex themes, raw emotions and profound ideas found in each Shakespeare play and show their relevance for modern Australians – wherever they live and whatever their background.
For images, further information or interviews:
Laura Douglas: T 02 9492 1002 / M 0452 505 859
Sarah Bond: T 02 9492 1000 / M 0449 543 181
Prue Vercoe – Bell Shakespeare: M: 0410 541 663