So, you’d like to do something will pre-modern drama – well come on in! We’re slowly moving back towards doing full productions again after the worst of the pandemic, so we’re open to an hello. The best way to introduce yourself is via our exploring sessions – we meet online several times a week to read plays, and you’re always welcome to pop in. You don’t have to read, just come along and say hello and watch as we go. Of course, reading is also fun.
Beyond Shakespeare Exploring Sessions
We’re running evening sessions exploring early drama and are looking for participants. Each weekday afternoon and evening we meet on zoom, read through a play, with stops and starts to discuss and figure out how the play works. The sessions are recorded and shared online to help produce future productions.
There are lots of sessions on offer each week – basically we read a section of a play each session, discussing as we go, or we run the text at pace, and then discuss. The scheduling is created based on your availability – so you sign up for when you want, we’ll try to ensure you get a part. You can also just sit and watch, no active participation is required.
AFTERNOONS: We meet at 2pm (UK time BST/GMT depending on the time of year) for 2.15pm to read one or two plays over a week.
EVENINGS: Are a bit more eclectic. The evening session starts from 7.15pm (UK time GMT) with a start of recording as soon as possible after.
The video recording will be then released as soon after the session completes as possible on YouTube, with the audio possibly being added to the podcast.
It’s all very relaxed, we’re a very holistic set up, and we’re open to all. Anyone is welcome to join.
Sign up forms are released weeks in advance, with a rough schedule/ random casting produced on Saturdays for the following week. If you fill in a form very early and want to change dates for the following week, just redo the form prior to Saturday.
Scripts and other material will be available in a dropbox in advance.
Anyone signed up will get invites to each session for the week, so you can always pop into plays you’re not signed up for.
Contact us with the form below if you’d like to act, or if you have expertise early or early modern texts and history and would like to help.
GENERAL SET UP AND GUIDANCE
Before all the boring stuff – here’s the most important thing. Have fun. Be positive. Be supportive. I’m not doing this because I urgently need to explore these plays, but because I want to connect with people and generally distract us from the world outside. So, if you’re stressed or worried about anything regarding this process – because meeting new people and reading stuff aloud can be scary in advance, let me know and step away. No worries.
Anyway, lets get to business.
1. Sign up to https://zoom.us/ – it only takes a moment. Don’t pay for a plan or anything, just sign up.
2. Wear headphones! This helps keep the audio nice and clear.
3. Find a nice cosy space with good internet connection. Try to be in a room with soft furnishings and little echo. Get yourself some snacks, a drink – make sure you mute your mic when you enjoy these things.
4. Wait for the link to be emailed (approx 1 hour in advance) and be ready to join us ready to start from 2pm or 7.15pm. House keeping will occur as we gather and we’ll start when everyone is online.
5. Robert Crighton will be moderating, reading stage directions and jumping in with helpful points and questions for the room. Don’t jump in unless there’s a clear signal to do so, though a reader can stop their performance to ask a question because they have the floor. If you’re not performing or not due to speak for a while, muting your microphone is good. As moderator I’ll try to keep things moving along, light and fun, and we’ll find a rhythm for discussion as we go.
6. Scripts – there will be typos – part of the point of this exercise is to begin the process of producing a proper production further down the line, which means creating an editable and rehearse-with-able version for the future. I’ve sourced reasonably good versions, but there will be errors, editorial disagreements and just stupid find and replace cock ups buried. However, the errors should at least be nice and clear and changable – so we have a fighting chance.
7. Do not mention Shakespeare. We don’t have anything against Shakespeare, but we don’t do Shakespeare. You really don’t need to mention his name, and if you do the imaginary duck will be summoned. And you don’t want that to happen.
8. Pronunciation – there are always party quirks with how to say early modern text – but basically just go for it. Yes they’ll be confusions due to bursts of Latin, typos that look really convincing as an actual word, weird names, unrevised conjurations of original spelling, rhymes that don’t rhyme any more, and more typos. Your individual accent will also throw up interesting variations, and we’re very interested in people following their own voice and not assuming RP is the way to go. The basic rule of thumb is say what you see, and we can discuss conventions of speech as we go.
9. Internet – if you have good broadband, you can keep your video feed on – but if you have connectivity issues switch to audio only. If you are dropping out we may have to ask another reader to step in, sorry in advance if that happens.
10. Recording – this will be shared as a video on YouTube, and maybe upcycled later as audio on the podcast. It’s vital for the future of the performance of these plays that others can learn from our fuck ups, triumphs, and utter confusions. The productions that follow us will be better for the work we do.
11. Sign up for future readings – each week there is a sign up sheet, choose the sessions you want to do, Robert will then fit plays to cast available and email casting by the weekend prior.
See you sometime this week. Stay healthy and keep in touch if there’s anything you need.
All the best,
(For General Enquiries/Questions – email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org)